New Canaan Officials Say They’ll Push for More Frequent Train Service on New Canaan Branch

Talmage Hill Railroad Station Crossing

Talmadge Hill Railroad Station (2007 photo on Wikimedia Commons)

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New Canaan needs a two-car train that travels between the station downtown and Stamford Transportation Center every half-hour, the town’s highest elected officials said last week.

Talmage Hill Railroad Station Crossing

Talmadge Hill Railroad Station

Pushing for more trains is the second-highest priority for New Canaan, after improving cell service, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said during a press briefing held Thursday in his office at Town Hall.

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Metro-North’s New Canaan Branch runs from the New Canaan Station and includes Talmadge Hill, Springdale and Glenbrook stations.

“We have a big gap in the evening,” he said. “People who commute from New Canaan if you don’t make the [4:45 p.m.] or [4:50 p.m.] train, you have to wait an hour and 10 minutes. That’s not service. So my point is, I am going to focus on that. It is much harder to accomplish because we can’t control it. But I think it’s important that we tackle that.”

The comments came in response to a question about Moynihan’s priorities as first selectman as he and Selectman Nick Williams announced their intention to run for re-election to the Board of Selectmen.

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Moynihan said he’s “beginning to think that we have to take a more proactive stance to simply work with Metro-North Railroad” on train service, and that he’s hopeful that work will be made easier now that former Metro-North Railroad President Joe Giulietti has been appointed commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

“You still have four express trains in the morning and four at night, but we need half-hour service for New Canaan, and that means building a second rail,” Moynihan said. “There was a pull-off that they took out, down in Glenbrook or Springdale some place, that would allow — just like Princeton, New Jersey — every half hour you can get to Stamford to connect to a train.”

Williams, Moynihan’s fellow Republican on the Board, said during the briefing that “it’s not just the frequency of trains — which is better than it was 20 years ago — but what’s worse is train times.”

“The time that you spend on the train is worse than it was 20 years ago, 40 years ago,” Williams said. “This is intolerable. And that is not just the New Canaan branch line, that’s the New Haven line. And by the way it impacts not just us but Darien and Greenwich and Westport and others.”

Williams said New Canaan might consider partnering with those towns in its effort to push for improved train times, to “come together and apply some pressure.”

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