The Central Corridor Coalition urges the initiation of passenger train service between Brattleboro, Amherst, Palmer, Storrs, Willimantic, New London, a route with existing freight tracks available to make a larger contribution to the region’s economic development.

The route serves:

  • Two large state universities: U-Mass and U-Conn, whose 52,000 students account for 35% of the total New England student population.
  • 11 smaller colleges like Amherst College and Connecticut College (the tracks run thrAmherst's brick train station with cupola, viewed from the trainough both campuses)
  • Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino: Destination for more than 1 million visitors
  • Commuters who travel between Willimantic, Norwich and New London
  • Regional travelers from and to the area and nearby cities reached by existing or planned connecting trains and ferries to Long Island.

Please sign up at right for our mailing list stay in touch about further developments and opportunities to support this regional priority.  We urge you to write a letter to the editor and to contact your elected representatives with your support.  Thank you!

Palmer Train Station with CSX on the left, NECR on the right and the ghosts of passengers future on the platform

Courtesy Phil Opielowski, sevenrailroads.com


9 Responses to About

  1. Scott Maits says:

    Feeding an otherwise smaller (for the coastal cities) New London with its unique (for top US rail line; Boston-Washington) on-the-dock station location, might also be more important to (true) High Speed and yes, even major freight rail plans for all of Connecticut and New England in the long run then anyone has imagined because of a superior Next Generation NECorridor concept I am developing. Cheaper, freight line based feeder lines that can be running in a few years are the way to build off of and support Amtrak and beyond as well as long, and importantly shorter haul, intermodal–This is especially the case when they can be done on presumably friendly, yet large enough, regional shortlines like you propose and I was already looking for there!
    –Scott W Maits, VP -Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers maits@dvarp.org

  2. Bill Kirby says:

    Thanks to the NEC RR’s excellent right of way, you could get North-South rail up and running without massive infrastructure investment. For openers, mostly needed would be trains. But nothing will happen without state subsidy — as is already planned for the conjested New Haven-Springfield corridor. That’s been a tough sell. Unhappily lacking on the UMass-UConn-New London route are equivalent, meaningful population and employment numbers. Casino traffic probably doesn’t add up to a sufficient offset. Getting favorable pro-rail legislation passed will be tough with the thin State Senate/Assembly representation out here in our State’s green zone.

    I’ll be hopeful, though, and wish the Coalition luck. Norwich just opened an impressive, expensive, federally funded transportation center to serve a relative handful of two-city bus patrons. At the moment it more suggests another waste of taxpayer money than progress toward Norwich’s long overdue renaissance. It would mitigate that perception if trains were added to the mix. Maybe regular riders would follow.


  3. Cats01 says:

    If passenger rail service between Brattleboro and New London was a money-making venture, NECRR would have done it long ago. If the promoters of this service can prove that it will make money, they ought to take their plans and data to NECRR and make a presentation. Looking for a hand-out from the state boldly says that the venture would join similar ventures and never turn a dime. That leaves taxpayers on the hook and in today’s sour economy, that’s simply wrong.

  4. Whether a railroad “makes money” isn’t determined by comparing costs to ticket sales. Railroads generate huge externalities, economic benefits acruing to others besides the buyers and sellers. For instance, if this rail service is established, traffic congestion on local roads will be reduced, and that benefits everybody, not just the rail riders. Rail service will make real estate near the station stops more valuable, benefiting those owners and the towns that collect taxes from them. Students or parents traveling to the universities served will have a more cost-effective way to travel. Because of all these externalities, it is often a smart investment for governments to support rail services, because they get back more than they put in. Please read the article about the Downeaster service in Maine, which explains how well Maine has done by supporting their rail service.

  5. I can’t wait for this to become a reality. Makes the work force more and more transferable.

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