Start of new Connecticut commuter line in jeopardy

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HARTFORD, Conn. — The start of commuter rail service between New Haven, Conn., Hartford, and Springfield, Mass. — promised for May — is in jeopardy because of equipment and ticketing issues, the Hartford Courant reports.

The Hartford Line service plans to use 16 cars leased from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, but those cars, which had been out of service for at least three years, are still undergoing mechanical and safety upgrades, the newspaper reports. Officials are requesting $2.3 million for “unbudgeted expenses” from the state legislature; more will be required to return those cars to service.

Four of the cars have been delivered to Connecticut. Four are receiving repairs and eight are still in Massachusetts. Other cars, which were to have been shifted to the new service from existing commuter lines, are unavailable.

State department of transportation officials also said there are unresolved issues with Amtrak over ticketing and locomotive repairs.

The 62-mile line is planned to operate 17 round trips per day between New Haven and Hartford, with 12 of those continuing to Springfield.  Amtrak currently offers Northeast Regional and Vermonter service on the route.

The full Courant story is here.

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