Commuter rail service between New Haven and Springfield will now begin next May, state officials announced this week.

Governor Malloy said the launch date was pushed back from January when funds became  available to install four more miles of double track between between Hartford and Windsor.

Berlin train station construction
Construction crews work on Berlin's new train station.

The Governor also announced that a joint venture between TransitAmerica Services and Alternate Concepts was chosen over Amtrak and three other bidders to operate the CTrail Hartford Line.

"Fast, dependable rail from New Haven to Springfield will create more economic activity along the New England Knowledge Corridor," said CBIA economist Pete Gioia.

The 62-mile Hartford Line is expected to provide 17 daily round trips between New Haven and Hartford, and 12 between Hartford and Springfield. There will be slightly fewer weekend trips.

Trains will connect New Haven, Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, and Hartford every 45 minutes during morning and evening peak hours and every 90 minutes off peak.

Federal, State Funding

Connecticut has spent nearly $650 million in state and federal funds on the new line and new stations in Berlin, Meriden, and Wallingford.

The overall project cost, including laying new tracks, is $1.2 billion.

Eighty percent of the line's projected $20 million annual operating budget will be covered for three years by the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, which also subsidizes the CTfastrak bus rapid-transit service.

"This is good for employers and employees alike," said CBIA Counsel Eric Gjede, who tacks transportation issues.

"Employers along the corridor can look throughout the state for the talent needed for their workforce, knowing their employees can rely on the trains to get them to and from work."

The high-speed trains will take commuters from New Haven to Springfield in 81 minutes at speeds of up to 110 mph.

Regional Link

The Hartford Line will act as a regional link with connections to existing rail services, including Metro-North, Shoreline East, and Amtrak's Acela services between New York and Boston.

The joint venture of TransitAmerica Services and Alternate Concepts signed a $45 million, five-year contract with the state Department of Transportation.

They will also perform 10 months of preliminary work required to prepare for the start of service.

Amtrak will remain responsible for maintenance of the railroad infrastructure, including track signals, train dispatching, and right-of-way security.

Amtrak's existing service between New Haven and Springfield will not be altered by Hartford Line service.