Rail Expansion Along Shoreline Faces Opposition - NBC Connecticut

Rail Expansion Along Shoreline Faces Opposition



    Rail Expansion Along Shoreline Faces Opposition

    A proposal to add the number of tracks from Branford to Guilford is facing opposition from some residents.

    (Published Monday, June 5, 2017)

    The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is proposing a project to double the number of train tracks from two to four between Branford and Guilford as part of the plan to enable high speed trains to travel more quickly along the northeast corridor through Connecticut.

    Robert Vavasour is not bothered by the sounds of the trains speeding by his Guilford home that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

    "We certainly don’t hate trains or we would never have bought this property," he said.

    But this stakeholder feels left out of the FRA’s plans to expand the railroad near his home.

    "All the other people’s houses that are threatened feel the same way," Vavasour said. "We wanted to make sure we were part of that process, we’ve never been part of that process."

    Vavasour said the FRA has not listened to local lawmakers who submitted letters on behalf of residents.

    "They have actually asked for the FRA to send people to Branford and Guilford to talk to us and they don’t respond," he said.

    Gregory Stroud is the director of special projects for the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

    "Once those routes are announced," Stroud said. "It’s going to be very hard to change them."

    Stroud said time is running out before FRA official finalize their plans for the new tracks along the shoreline.

    "We’re afraid that it could change the character of the shoreline, and not just from Branford to Guilford," he said. "But really from Old Lyme all the way to Greenwich, that it could fundamentally change coastal Connecticut."

    Vavasour worries about what this railroad project could mean for the area’s ecosystem, as well as the impact construction could have on property values and the water wells residents rely on.

    "There’s an effort to keep people feeling not like you should worry when people should be very worried," he said.

    NBC Connecticut reached out to the FRA about its communications with communities impacted by the railroad expansion proposal. Spokesperson Marc Willis said the FRA met with "leadership of specific communities and towns based on requests from elected officials of those communities."

    "As appropriate, additional public outreach, meetings and hearings will be conducted during the Tier 2 project planning studies," Willis said in an email. He added that the project will require "further analysis and environmental review, as well s funding, before any construction can begin."

    Stroud is organizing an informational meeting about the proposed railroad changes between Branford and Guilford on Wednesday at 70m at the Nathanael Greene Community Center at 32 Church Street in Guilford.

    Constituents can find more info and submit comments here.

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