Shoreline East Riders Voice Concerns

Shoreline East riders are becoming increasingly frustrated with train cancellations and delays. On Thursday, people have an opportunity to voice their concerns, face-to-face with Department of Transportation representatives at New Haven’s Union Station from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Complaints range from late train service, to locomotives breaking down.

“A lot of cancellations, sometimes the train doesn’t show up and in the end there’s often bus service. It seems to be sort of arbitrary,” said Peter Sinclair, a rider from Guilford. “It just became sort of more worthwhile to drive after a while.

In April, the DOT began repairing a portion of the tracks and fixing drainage issues. They canceled 15 trains and replaced them with bus service. Those repairs are expected to be complete on November 15, however John Bernick, the assistant rail administrator for the DOT, said they may not fully restore service. DOT administrators are considering sticking with a mixed train and bus service until they can guarantee the trains will run properly and on time.

But riders are experiencing service complications beyond the bus service.

“The last two Thursdays the train has died just after we leave the station in New Haven. So instead of getting home at 5 I get home at 6, 6:30am,” said Jeanie Cacopardo, a rider from Guilford. “I’ve been taking this train for 18-19 years. So this is a little frustrating.”

The DOT is working to restore reliability and confidence in Shoreline East, according to Bernick.

Several locomotives have been sent out of state for repair. Four were sent for a top deck overhaul in Illinois. They are back in service. Two more locomotives will be coming back, one in December, the other in January. The DOT is also sending 12 locomotives to Indiana for a full overhaul. They expect the first six to come back within a year.

Amtrak contractors are also doing minor maintenance repairs to the trains.

If a train does break down, the DOT has three buses on standby in New Haven. They plan to add one on standby in Old Saybrook and one in Hartford within the next week.

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