State Pleased with Day One of Hartford Line

The ridership for the first two days of Hartford Line rail service was a dream come true.

Officials said 21,850 people took advantage of the free rides on the Hartford Line on its inaugural weekend.

Figures for the first day of regular service, Monday, were not immediately available. While staff from CT Rail, the group principally in charge of the Hartford Line is tallying people every day, Amtrak reports ridership differently.

“I love what I’m seeing,” said James Redeker, Connecticut’s commissioner of the Department of Transportation. He said the line is a landmark achievement for the state, and one that should be looked at as an example around the nation.

“Where else are we opening up high-speed rail service with this many trains? The answer? Nowhere else in the country,” Redeker said, while seated at a table in a rail car traveling from New Haven to Hartford. “That’s something that Connecticut needs to stand proud and tall about. This is setting the bar as high as can be for the high-speed rail program.”

The rail cars were not full on the early and later afternoon trains ridden by NBC Connecticut, but riders were certainly excited about the new transportation service.

Jeff Travers took advantage of it to visit his son in New York City, and transferred to Metro-North Service in New Haven.

“Unbelievable. This is the best thing that could have happened. For years we’ve been driving to New Haven to go down to the city to visit with them and now you just get on in Hartford or anywhere along the way and bingo you’re in the city.”

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