CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
2800 BERLIN TURNPIKE P.O. BOX 317546
NEWINGTON CONNECTICUT, 06131-7546
|FOR RELEASE:September 22 , 2008
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
Fax: (860) 594-3066
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) today announced details on the upcoming weekday Danbury branch train schedule going into effect on Sunday, October 5, 2008. The Danbury Branch weekday train schedule will add a new round trip to the service schedule, for now a total of 22 scheduled weekday trains. The new schedule adjusts the times to seven trains, making new, more convenient timed connections and access to destinations at more user-friendly times.
“While the Danbury branch has traditionally featured 30-minute New York City commutation hour service, this schedule introduces a northbound commute option to Connecticut commuters, and wider travel choices for all Danbury branch commuters”, said Eugene J. Colonese, Rail Administrator, Connecticut Department of Transportation. The new weekday schedule reduces the length of service gaps, while improving reverse business commutation for Danbury branch destinations. For example, the new schedule supports commutation to Merritt 7 by 9:00 a.m. from New York/Stamford, and 3:50 p.m./5:52 p.m. returns.
Southwestern Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA) Executive Director Dr. Floyd Lapp noted that the Stamford-based planning agency has been encouraging development of bi-directional commutation service to Merritt 7 and the Danbury branch for some time. “It is gratifying to see the DOT creatively pursue increasing travel options on this single-track railroad”, said Dr. Lapp. While there are several trains receiving time adjustments affecting existing travelers, the increased choices and improved destination times are a significant trade-off in this step forward for travel in the region.”
Jonathan Chew, Executive Director of the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials (HVCEO) noted that the branch service additions are a welcome travel option for Danbury and towns to the north. “With northbound customers able to now arrive Danbury as early as 9:40 a.m. – in time for a 10:00 a.m. morning meeting, and for the first time you can reach Danbury on a off-peak train in time for lunch – it just better links us to New York and Stamford”, noted Chew. Alternately, southbound travelers who want to arrive New York City in time for lunch have the advantage of taking the train off-peak (i.e. reduced cost) from Danbury at 9:55 a.m., rather than having to make the 7:57 a.m. peak commuter train.
This new Danbury branch schedule was possible by shifting some trains as much as 43 minutes earlier and 60 minutes later to accommodate the new trains added. DOT and Metro-North encourage both existing and potential new commuters in the region to review the schedule to consider the advantages and new travel times that are now available. Customers should consult the new time schedule, which will be available on Monday, September 22 via the website at www.mta.info or at local train station.
In addition to the schedule changes, the Department will be surveying the Danbury as well as Waterbury, New Canaan branch line customers beginning on Tuesday, September 23. The survey is looking for ideas on how to improve rail service in those regions, and will be used as part of the study to determine the long-term needs of these branch lines. The purpose of the customer survey is to determine travel patterns and preferences of current passengers during peak weekday travel in order to define desired service improvements. In addition, telephone service will be conducted in towns along each corridor during late September and early October to get input from area residents.
“The Department is working on all aspects to enhance and improve rail service. From the planning unit to rail operations, the state is looking to keep our resident moving forward and traveling with ease in the state. We hope many of our branch line customers will take advantage and respond to the coming surveys,” said Commissioner Joseph F. Marie.