Waterbury Rail Line Caucus Calls on Legislature to Invest in Western-CT Resource

February 26, 2020

HARTFORD – The Waterbury Rail Line Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators representing various sections of the greater Waterbury area, held a press conference today ahead of the Transportation Committee public hearing to call on their peers to invest time and energy to encourage continued modernization, expansion and investment into what could be considered CT’s most neglected rail line. Senate Republican members of the bipartisan WRL caucus also submitted joint testimony to the Transportation Committee today in support of increasing capacity on the rail line.


“The Waterbury Rail Line is a lifeline for economic growth and job opportunities in this region of the state.  People are considering rail more for work and travel and we need to support these riders by providing reliable equipment and more service options.  Improvements are needed to both rail service and infrastructure, including platforms and modern rail cars and increasing the number and frequency of trains and adding additional stops,” said Senator Henri Martin (R-31), ranking member on the Transportation Committee.


Annual ridership on the Waterbury Line increased from 178,170 in 2004 to 345,027 in 2018/2019, a 94% increase. After adding just one new inbound trip in the morning peak period, ridership jumped 34%.


“The Waterbury Line has been overlooked for far too long by those in power. Rail service in our communities needs to be a focus for Connecticut. There is so much untapped potential in the Valley and surrounding communities along the rail line, from Stratford on up. We are all members of the bipartisan Waterbury Rail Line Caucus and together we are urging our colleagues on this committee to consider the value of expanding the Waterbury Rail Line, including increasing capacity and addressing issues and concerns to modernize and improve service,” said Senator Kevin Kelly (R-21).


“Connecticut has already initiated an infrastructure improvement project to install a traffic control signal system, implement Positive Train Control and construct passing sidings at four locations along the line, with investments totaling approximately $90 million and various parts of this project due to be complete in December 2020 and mid-2021. But we need to do more to ensure that the state’s investment is fully leveraged. We must have a commitment to finish the work started by the DOT. Upgrading existing rail equipment, acquiring new needed equipment, and expanding service to better help our residents get where they need to go must be part of the conversation and development to generate the economic development and job growth we all know our communities can support, “ said Senator George Logan (R-17), co-chair of the Waterbury Rail Line Caucus.


“We understand that transportation funding is a major issue in Connecticut as we all work to identify the best course of action to move our state forward and invest more in infrastructure improvements and modernization. We have proposed plans to invest in transportation that do not ask for any more from overburdened taxpayers and we hope to see a bipartisan effort to advance our shared goals. We believe that whatever transportation plan our state moves forward with the Waterbury Line must be part of that conversation and focus. In addition, we must prioritize the Waterbury Line within current DOT planning,” said Senator Eric Berthel (R-32).


The Waterbury Line Caucus believes strongly in the importance of improving rail service in the state of Connecticut. Representing communities along the Waterbury Rail Line, these legislators are committed to supporting residents who utilize Waterbury Line service and who could greatly benefit from further expansion, improvements and capacity growth along the line.


Photo: Sen. George Logan (R-17), co-chair of the Waterbury Rail Line Caucus, speaks at the caucus’s press conference Monday at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.




Sarah Clark