ConnDOT: New Investments in Waterbury Branch Rail Line - Some Changes in Service and Schedules Required
2015

CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
NEWS RELEASE
 
2800 BERLIN TURNPIKE P.O. BOX 317546
NEWINGTON CONNECTICUT, 06131-7546
 
FOR RELEASE: March 16, 2015
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
FAX: (860) 594-3065
WEB SITE: www.ct.gov/dot 

New Investments in Waterbury Branch Rail Line - Some Changes in Service and Schedules Required
 
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and Metro-North Railroad this spring will be making critical repairs on the Devon Bridge on the New Haven commuter rail line and doing maintenance work on the Waterbury Branch. These will require temporary busing and schedule adjustments on the New Haven Line. Customers will be notified of changes to schedules through station signing and online updates.
 
First, the removal of five miles of old track along the 27-mile Waterbury Branch will require the busing of passengers for a nine-day period, from April 25 to May 3. The track was removed in 2012 to make way for the installation of new track, which has been completed.
 
Bus schedules will approximate the existing train schedule and notices will be posted at stations and online at www.ct.gov/dot and www.mta.info/mnr. The Waterbury Branch has stations in Naugatuck, Beacon Falls, Seymour, Ansonia and Derby/Shelton.  Average weekday ridership is about 460.
 
The old track is being provided to two freight railroad companies – Central New England Railroad and Naugatuck Railroad Co. – as part of the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s (CTDOT) program to spur economic development through expanded freight rail service in the state.
 
Second, to accommodate the final phase of interim repairs to the 110-year-old, four-track Devon railroad bridge over the Housatonic River, additional service modifications will be required. This 1,067-foot long moveable bridge must be replaced in the future, but requires interim repairs to sustain reliable service. Completion of the Track 3 work on the Devon Bridge is a prerequisite to the next and final phase of CTDOT’s overhead catenary wire replacement, a $106 million upgrade that is on target for completion in 2017.
 
Customers, who usually transfer to Main Line trains at Bridgeport, will instead get off the Waterbury train at a new, temporary Devon Transfer station, cross the bridge and wait for a train to stop on Track 1. Northbound customers will be dropped off  Main Line trains at the Devon Transfer and board a waiting train for the trip to Waterbury and stops in between. The temporary station will have lights and a public address system.
 
This six-month, $1 million phase of work involves steel repairs, a new wooden deck and new miter rails on the Track 3 span.  
 
Additional details on the Devon Bridge Project:
 
When the bridge work on Track 3 is completed, CTDOT will take the adjacent track, Track 1, out of service for wire replacement. This will leave three tracks in service to minimize disruption to the New Haven Line, the busiest rail line in America. During this time, Track 3 will be carrying an increased number of trains while Track 1 is unavailable.
 
Track 3, also known as the inbound local track, will be out of service continuously for six months during the work on Devon Bridge. Because Track 3 is where trains from Waterbury merge onto the Main Line, accommodations will have to be made to branch line service during the six-month track outage.
 
A new, temporary transfer point will be built where the branch and the Main Line connect, at a piece of track called the “wye.”  Two, four-car length platforms will be built, one on the branch and one on top of Track 3, with a walkway connecting them.   
 
Because Main Line trains will be making an extra stop at the Devon Transfer, about a minute of running time will be added to scheduled trip times on those trains. This change will be reflected in the new schedules effective April 26.
 
Over the past year, CTDOT has worked with MNR to ensure that all options have been reviewed and the option with the lowest customer impact was selected. This work also helps ensure the future reliability of the Waterbury Line as Devon Track 3 is critical to provide the mainline connection at Bridgeport.
 
Details of the Devon scope of work are as follows: Remove the timber deck, perform steel repairs (primarily to the top flanges of stringers but there is some bottom flange and other steel repairs as well) then install new deck timbers, reinstall the running rail and new miter rails.  The timber deck renewal should take about 10 weeks for the 800-plus timbers.  A safety walkway also will be erected.
 
Work will be during daylight hours seven days a week, weather permitting.