Press Release – For Immediate Release

Contact: Jim Gildea
Email address:
Phone: (203) 330-2521
Waterbury Branch Line Organizational Meeting
(Derby, CT) There will be an organizational meeting of all Waterbury branch commuters on July
9, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. in the Valley Council of Governments offices at the Derby Train Station on
the Waterbury Branch Line. The purpose of this meeting is to mobilize and engage the
commuters of the branch line so they can better get their voices heard by their elected legislators,
the State Department of Transportation and Metro North Railroad.
For years, the Waterbury Branch Line has had to deal with a lack of planning and investment in
the line, an usually high number of busing substitutions, a lack of friendly commuter service
times or any real weekend scheduling. Recently, Metro North took away one of the few benefits
the branch had by eliminating the express train to Stamford which was only reinstated after
legislator and commuter pressure. In addition, in what may be the biggest threat to the long term
prospects of the line, the CTDOT has pushed out and delayed the start of the positive train
control work on the branch line that has been mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration
and would expand the ability to schedule more and more frequent commuter trains. Originally
slated to commence in summer of 2014, there is now no firm date being given by CTDOT nor
have they even secured the necessary rights-of-way to complete the project.
Connecticut Commuter Rail Council Vice Chairperson Jim Gildea said today “For too long, the
Waterbury branch commuters have had to deal with substandard service and less attention than
the other branch lines of the New Haven line. It’s time we organized as commuters to ensure our
voices are heard by our legislators and the State Department of Transportation and Metro North
Railroad as they are responsible for the service that is provided to the line.
Rick Dunne, Executive Director of the Valley Council of Governments added “In addition to the
fact that the ability to transport commuters to and from their places of employment is critically
important to sustaining Connecticut’s economy, the branch line can also serve as springboard for
economic growth in the Naugatuck Valley cities along the corridor if safe and reliable service is
provided. For far too long we have failed to plan for branch line expansion, with the result that
now when that capacity is desperately needed it doesn’t exist. We need to start working
immediately to expand train service in this corridor so that we can reduce the average commute
between Waterbury and Stamford from 2 ½ hours by car to a 1-hour train ride. Only then will
large Fairfield County employers again be able to seriously consider expanding the number of
jobs they bring to Connecticut.
Longtime Commuter advocates, Terry Borjeson, Majority Leader, Newington Town Council,
member of the Connecticut Commuter Rail Council and Chair of CTfastrak Corridor Advisory
Subcommittee and Jim Cameron past chair of the Connecticut Commuter Rail Council and
founder of the Commuter Action Group will also be in attendance.

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