The Connecticut Department of Transportation said an Amtrak project of track repairs starting April 23 between New Haven and Old Saybrook will affect customers of both the intercity rail system and the CTDOT-owned Shore Line East commuter line, canceling trains and putting travelers onto buses instead.
The department said the substitute bus program will continue every weekday through November, when the work is scheduled to end.
"One of the two tracks will remain out of service throughout the program, requiring substitute bus service to operate in place of some Shore Line East trains. In total, 15 trains will be canceled and replaced by bus service" it said. "Additionally, three trains will wait between 10 and 15 minutes intermediately in Guilford due to train conflicts."
The announcement said Amtrak's work will address ongoing drainage issues along the rail right of way "and upgrade track conditions to improve the ride quality for customers."
It will use a "ballast undercutting machine" to remove gravel, mud and fouled stone ballast from beneath the tracks, then install clean stone ballast and realign the track.
"Amtrak work forces will start in the Branford area and work east towards Old Saybrook, spanning a distance of 23 miles" the agency said, adding that the first segment, between Branford and Guilford, will last about four months and be followed by track work between Guilford and Old Saybrook.
The CTDOT will stage buses at most Shore Line East stations weekday mornings to travel to New Haven, and that in the evenings express bus service will be available to most stations.
"We've worked with Amtrak to minimize the inconvenience to our Shore Line East customers," said CTDOT Rail Administrator Carl Jackson. "In the long run, Connecticut commuters will benefit from the track work being done by Amtrak. However, there will be some service and schedule changes affecting customers in the near term."
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