The state Department of Transportation is adding late-night trains to get basketball fans home after going into Hartford to see first- and second-round games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The first and second rounds of the Division one NCAA men’s basketball championship will take place at the XL Center on Thursday, March 21 and Saturday, March 23.
Game one is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 21 when number four Florida State competes against number 13 Vermont. Doors open at 12:30 p.m.
Game two will be number five Marquette vs. number 12 Murray State. It starts after game 1 ends.
Game three starts at 7:20 p.m. Thursday when number six Villanova competes against number 11 St. Mary’s.
Game four, which starts after game three, will be number three Purdue vs. number 14 Old Dominion.
The second-round games will be held on Saturday and the schedule will be announced after the games Thursday.
The winner of game one will play the winner of game two and the winner of game three will play the winner of game four.
CTrail Hartford Line train service will operate on a regular schedule on Thursday and Saturday but there will be an additional Hartford departure southbound after the game on Thursday, March 21.
“The Hartford Line provides a quick option for fans in the central Connecticut corridor to avoid traffic and travel safely to our state’s capital city,” Governor Ned Lamont said in a statement. “Connecticut residents deserve to have an efficient transportation system – adding these special late night trains for the tournament is another effort to provide more convenient options to travel around and get our state moving.”
The southbound train after the last game of the evening will leave Hartford Union Station at 12:15 a.m. or 30 minutes after the game ends, whichever is later. It will make stops in Berlin, Meriden, Wallingford, State Street and at New Haven Union Station.
For northbound passengers, bus service will be provided from Hartford Union Station and it will also depart at 12:15 a.m. or 30 minutes after the game. Northbound buses will drop off at Windsor, Windsor Locks and Springfield stations.
Fans can walk to the XL Center from Union Station in Hartford.
NCAA tournament officials have not announced the game times for Saturday, March 23.
If the last game is scheduled to end after regular train service has ended, an additional train will be added southbound and bus service northbound.
Additional service for Saturday, if necessary, will be announced at www.hartfordline.com.
For those who drive, there are some parking deals.
There will be $10 parking throughout downtown Hartford in designated surface lots and garages during all March Madness festivities. The following list of garages will feature $10 Tournament
• 58 Chapel St.
• 1212 Main St.
• 285 Church St.
• 55 Chapel St. South (MAT Garage)
• 10 Ford St.
• 185 Pearl St.
• 160 Jewell St.
• Trumbull on the Park Garage
• The XL Center garage is $15
Local Restaurant Deals:
Certain downtown Hartford restaurants and bars will be offering exclusive Tournament deals throughout the weekend. See the full list of discounts here.
Party on Pratt:
There will be a free block party open to public and it will feature a pop-up pub with local breweries and distilleries, live music, local vendors and exhibits. All ages welcome! Learn more here xlcenter.com/prattstreet
Thursday, March 21: 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday, March 22: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 23: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.