HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont announced Monday that six new express trains on the New Haven Line and seven new weekday trains on the Waterbury Branch Line are now rolling.

The push to keep transportation projects on track was front and center at a big regional conference. The new express trains from New Haven to Grand Central in New York get you there in as little as one hour and 39 minutes, 20 minutes faster.

Lamont kept a promise to speed up service.

“New York City is a great place to visit but wouldn’t want to live there, but it’s easier to get there now,” Lamont said.

The goal is part of Time for CT, a program to increase commute times. Metro-North officials report they recently carried nearly 175,000 riders, nearly 70% of pre-pandemic levels.

Weekends are busy too, according to Kathy Rinaldi, president of Metro-North.

“Riding with Metro-North has never been easier,” she said.

The New Haven Line has recovered 55% of its weekday riders. Changing commuter hours and teleworking are big factors.

Connecticut’s Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti explains.

“More people have gone to three-day weeks, four-day weeks, so we are seeing early starts in the morning, later at night, so we are adjusting,” Giulietti said.

At a conference of the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials in Hartford, Lamont touted the $6 billion in federal funding the state will get over the next five years.

“Right here right now, transformational difference,” Lamont said.

CTDOT is recruiting for 206 additional positions, like engineers, and is back-filling retirements.

“Right now, we’re training everybody we can. We’re getting to the vocational schools right now, giving them internships, apprentices, and opportunities. I think we’re going to be able to keep up,” Lamont said.

Starting now, seven new weekday trains will run on the Waterbury Branch Line after completed safety improvements.

CT Commuter Rail Council Chair Jim Gildea said it’s the “biggest day on the Waterbury branch ever.” Transportation officials say it’s a 47% increase in train service.

On the Hartford to New Haven line, the state is increasing service with Amtrak.

Trains are allowed to go 100 miles an hour on this line. Riders are being offered bus service during off-peak hours while upgrades are happening.

All the trains are expected to roll again when construction is over in the fall.