Group demands better train service, no more delays

New Haven

With the clock ticking, frustrations are mounting.

Everyday, members of The Shoreline East Riders Advocacy Group say they can count on one thing — trains being late here in Connecticut.

“It’s just not acceptable,” Lu Leahy said. 

“There’s no predictability to whether the trains will be coming, when they will be coming if they do come,” John Weikart said. 

Related Content: Blumenthal to Amtrak: Step up and end intolerable delays, overcrowding for CT commuters

They say it’s becoming a problem that is jeopardizing jobs for people who depend on timely train service to get to work or make important meetings.

“They’ve been getting into work late ten, fifteen minutes,” said Susan Feaster, founder of the riders group. “One person who works at Yale has been written up three times this year. That was as of August. And he could lose his job over that. This is serious.”

“Yesterday I had my first experience riding the new Hartford line,” John said. “The train broke down in Wallingford and we were eventually transferred to a bus. I ended up reaching Hartford two hours after the train was scheduled to get there.”

They called on Senator Richard Blumenthal to join their cause and demand better service. The senator wrote a letter to the head of Amtrak.

Related Content: Shore Line East forum to be held to discuss commuter concerns

“I am writing, demanding answers and action by December 6th,” he said. “These delays must be remedied.”

Senator Blumenthal also says Connecticut has spent $769 million to upgrade and improve service on the Amtrack-owned Hartford line. Now, he says Amtrak doesn’t have enough cars to meet the demand.

Senator Blumenthal says that’s resulted in delays and overcrowding on trains.

The following is part of a statement Amtrak sent to News8:

Amtrak and Connecticut DOT are working together to source additional equipment to help ease overcrowding and Amtrak has temporarily added some capacity on one of the New Haven-Springfield trains where we have experienced overcrowding. The safety of our customers must continue to be our highest priority.”  

Senator Blumenthal also pointed out how often Shoreline East trains don’t show up on time.

“The on time arrival rate of Shoreline East is now 59 percent,” Sen. Blumenthal said. “That’s unacceptable.”

Members of the riders group say now that they have an advocate in Senator Blumenthal, the next step is to head to Hartford to persuade state transportation officials and lawmakers to get train service on time and on the right track.

“And we call them to action to fix it,” Susan said.

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