We all dream about traveling first class. Big comfy seats, real food and free drinks. This is the only way to fly. But did you know that there used to be a handful of private, first-class “club cars” on the New Haven Railroad’s commuter trains? Among the most legendary was one that ran from New Canaan from 1908 to 1976 — Car # 5113.
In 1955 a New Haven Railroad commuter train could run non-stop for the 36-mile distance from Stamford to Grand Central in 48 minutes. Today that Stamford-to-NYC run takes 59 minutes at best, despite Governor Lamont’s long-promised dream of a 30-minute trip time. But now there’s a new effort to speed up the New Haven line: CDOT’s ambitious “Time for CT” $8-to-10-billion plan. It promises 10-minute faster running times from New Haven to New York City by next year and a 25-minute quicker run by 2035. While some dream of a new high speed rail system running from Washington to Boston at 200+ mph speeds, CDOT and Metro-North are taking, in my view, a much more realistic approach to fixing our existing system.
How would you like a plan to remove thousands of trucks from Connecticut
highways, clean up the air and create new jobs? Who wouldn’t? It’s a win-win-win plan that you’d expect Governor Lamont to
embrace, especially in this time of TCI (the Transportation Climate Initiative). The solution? Invest in our state’s freight railroads.
How are we going to get riders back on the trains and save Metro-North from ballooning deficits, potential service cuts or fare hikes? That’s the question I crowd-sourced on social media last week and found dozens of great answers! Most respondents said they won’t be commuting as much as before because they will continue working from home. It’s not that they are shunning the rails out of fear, just that commuting won’t be necessary. “Most of us have figured out how to work without riding a train every day,” one rider opined.