HARTFORD – State Representatives Rosa C. Rebimbas (R-70), Themis Klarides (R-114), Teresa Conroy (D-105), and State Senators Kevin Kelly (R-21) and Joe Crisco (D-17) met with Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker to discuss the future of the Waterbury Branch of the Metro North Rail line.
During the meeting the legislative delegation impressed on Commissioner Redeker the need for increased communication from the DOT and MTA regarding scheduled and emergency maintenance and repairs, or delays in service to alert commuters who depend on train service.
“Many people in Naugatuck, and the Greater Waterbury area, rely on public transportation to travel around the state and I am pleased Commissioner Redeker understands the importance of improving the service and amenities on the Waterbury Branch line,” Rep. Rebimbas said. “The entire delegation looks forward to continue working closely with the Commissioner and DOT to make necessary changes to improve the reliability and service on the Waterbury Branch line.”
“I continue to hear concerns from my constituents about the everyday challenges they face as passengers of Metro North railroad,” Rep. Klarides added. “They are understandably upset as they feel their voices are not being heard by DOT. I’m encouraged by Commissioner Redeker’s pledge to improve service on the Waterbury Branch line, and I look forward to further discussions and work toward that end.”
“The Waterbury Branch is a transportation lifeline for the Valley, and I am encouraged to see a strong group of lawmakers and state leaders working together to improve service and safety. It’s not fair that the line has been neglected for so long, but I think we are finally making some important first steps. I hope that we can continue building on this momentum to improve capacity, enhance safety and increase the quality of transportation that our families deserve,” Sen. Kelly said.
The DOT has been holding local information forums and events for riders and commuters to get their feedback and to answer questions. Commissioner Redeker said commuters have voiced important concerns and that the DOT is continually working on improving service on the line. Some commuter concerns included increased weekend service schedules, providing text alerts with information regarding delays in scheduled service, increasing reliability and providing a direct train to New York City among others.
The Commissioner also said they are working on immediate goals of increasing reliability and improving the cleanliness of the trains, with mid-term goals of implementing an improved signal system that would allow more trains to be run. He also said the DOT has a long-term goal of continuing to replace aging rail cars.