Posts Tagged ‘commuter’

Nation’s busiest railroad struggles with old wires

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

By John Christoffersen
Associated Press

As published in the Sunday edition of the Record Journal on August 21, 2011

NEW HAVEN — After passengers became stuck in a disabled train with no air conditioning in stifling heat last month on the nation’s busiest rail line, Metro-North Railroad pointed to a familiar culprit hanging around for a century.

Metro-North said the severe troubles on July 22 that led desperate passengers to call 911, remove emergency windows and even flee the train to walk along the railroad were caused by overhead wires that power the trains. Portions of the catenary system date to 1914 and are prone to failure in extreme heat when wires sag and become tangled in mechanical arms on top of the train cars.

Metro-North promised this week to work with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to replace the wires and other aging infrastructure “as expeditiously as possible.” Connecticut began replacing the wires in 1996 and the project is about 60 percent done but is not expected to be finished until 2015. “This system is decades past its useful life and the fragile condition of the system leads to regular failures, significantly impacting service reliability,” the railroad wrote in a report of an investigation into last month’s troubles.

The overhead wires are responsible for about 8 percent of delays on the New Haven line, Metro-North said. With nearly 400 trains operating on the line daily and Metro-North carrying 37 million people annually, train officials said it’s challenging to make improvements.

New York has already replaced its catenary system and has not experienced failures, according to the report. Metro-North noted that new train cars are arriving in Connecticut and promised to improve its emergency response when trains are disabled.

“It is important to note, however, that these actions cannot overcome years of disinvestment in infrastructure and equipment,” the report stated.

Gene Colonese, railroad administrator for DOT, said the original goal was to finish the project by 2010 but it proved more complicated. He said officials recently decided to focus more on upgrades to the wires rather than railroad bridges, but still doesn’t expect to finish the work before 2015.

The real issue was Metro-North’s emergency response and failure to communicate, said Jim Cameron, who heads up the rail commuter council. Downed wires are a common cause of major delays, but DOT projects are always delayed and even new wires can be pulled down by old train cars, he said.

A new fleet of train cars has been slowly arriving, but Cameron said it’s been delayed more than a year.

“These are all excuses Metro-North can use, none of which deal with the fundamental issues of their personnel and their incompetence and their lack of communication when something happens,” Cameron said. “Passengers were that desperate that they felt the call to 911 was going to be necessary to save their lives.”

Frank K. Darmstadt, a 47year-old New Jersey resident who was on the train to visit his parents, said passengers sat in the train for about 45 minutes in Westport with little communication by Metro-North. Passengers begged for water and began opening emergency windows for air, he said.

“People were on the verge of passing out,” Darmstadt said, noting there were pregnant and elderly passengers. “There was a sense of nobody knew what the heck was going on and nobody knew what to do in this emergency type of situation.”

Ron Kovis, a 53-year-old graphic artist from Fairfield who was on the train when it broke down in Westport, said it felt like the train was well over 100 degrees. He said passengers pleaded with train personnel to open the doors, an elderly man next to him was struggling and two women managed to get off the train and were walking alongside it. “It was very claustrophobic and extremely hot,” Kovis said. “I couldn’t believe how hot it was.”

Metro-North apologized and promised to make more frequent announcements and enact other reforms, including stepped up coordination with local first responders.

Cameron said his group has tried unsuccessfully for years to get Metro-North to improve its communications.

Kovis said he wasn’t surprised to hear Metro-North blame the catenary system.

“It seems like most of the time when we have problems it’s related to the overhead wires,” he said. “It seems like it’s taken forever.”

Kovis said commuters are also frustrated with the slow arrival of the new trains, adding “probably the richest area in the country and I think we probably have the worst train system in the country. There’s just something wrong with that.”

GOV. MALLOY ANNOUNCES $40 MILLION FOR HIGH SPEED RAIL FUNDS RELEASED TO CONNECTICUT

Friday, April 8th, 2011

GOV. MALLOY ANNOUNCES $40 MILLION FOR HIGH SPEED RAIL FUNDS RELEASED TO CONNECTICUT

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that $40 million in previously allocated stimulus funding was released today to Connecticut. Governor Malloy spoke at length with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about this when they met last month. While the funding for high speed rail was previously allocated, if not actually released to Connecticut by April 8, the state would have lost the money altogether.

“There was a very clear deadline by which we needed to have these funds released, and I wasn’t about to let $40 million in money for our state go somewhere else,” said Governor Malloy. “When I spoke with Secretary LaHood, I made our state’s case clearly and asked for his help cutting through the red tape to make sure that we got this money released to Connecticut by the deadline. I’d like to thank Secretary LaHood for his help on this matter, and I look forward to working with him closely on high speed rail and other transportation issues of import to the state.”

“High-speed rail will open up a new world of economic opportunities for Connecticut,” said Secretary LaHood. “The Administration’s initial $40 million investment in upgrading the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail line will create jobs now and help ensure that in years to come, Connecticut residents will have access to world class high-speed rail service and economic opportunities throughout New England.”

The $40 million in previously allocated funds will be used to double-track ten miles of existing track between Newington and Meriden, which is necessary for the full New Haven-to-Springfield rail line to move forward.

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For Immediate Release: April 8, 2011

Contact: David Bednarz

David.Bednarz@ct.gov

860-524-7315 (office)

860-770-9792 (cell)

Twitter: @GovMalloyOffice

Facebook: Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy

GOV. MALLOY MEETS WITH METRO-NORTH PRESIDENT HOWARD PERMUT

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today met with Metro-North President Howard Permut to talk more about the disruption in service on Metro-North’s New Haven line, and what can be done going forward. Mr. Permut met with Governor Malloy in his office in Hartford earlier today.

“The fact that Metro-North’s New Haven line is the busiest in the United States offers little solace to the commuters who depend on its service every day,” said Governor Malloy. “The issues we’re experiencing there are illustrative of the problems our state is facing generally – for too long we’ve deferred our problems, and instead, we’ve covered them up with a band-aid until some later date. Well, the band-aid has worn off and there is no later date. The average age of the New Haven railcar fleet is 32 years, versus the average age of other lines’ fleets which is 6 years – it’s no wonder the New Haven line is having trouble keeping up. And I’m very mindful of the concerns of the commuters who use the Waterbury line, who’ve gotten the short end of the stick over the years.  I’m determined to address their legitimate concerns as quickly as time and resources allow.

“Mr. Permut and I had a broad discussion about a capital investment program to get new cars on line as soon as possible. The final stage of testing for the current M8 cars is scheduled to begin shortly, and my bond commission agenda includes funding for the final 38 cars. I’m not pretending this will solve all of our problems – it won’t. But I don’t have the luxury – nor do I have the inclination – to wait around and let someone else deal with this. I asked Mr. Permut for regular updates on the cars currently being repaired, as well as the reduced winter schedule.

“There is no silver bullet, but I am committed to getting the New Haven line back to where it needs to be to serve the people of Connecticut.”

For Immediate Release:

Colleen Flanagan

Director of Communications

860.524.7308 (o)

860.770.8090 (c)

Colleen.Flanagan@ct.gov

GOV. MALLOY CALLS METRO-NORTH PRESIDENT REGARDING SERVICE REDUCTION

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

GOV. MALLOY CALLS METRO-NORTH PRESIDENT TO HELP FIND IMMEDIATE SOLUTION  TO SERVICE REDUCTION ON NEW HAVEN LINE

(HARTFORD, CT) – Earlier this afternoon, Governor Dannel P. Malloy called Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut, directly intervening to help find an immediate solution to a problem with which  New Haven line commuters have been dealing. Due to the severity and intensity of the storms which have affected both Connecticut and New York this winter, as well as the aged and antiquated equipment and service facilities on the line, Permut has announced a reduction in the number of trains and shift times on the New Haven line. Governor Malloy was joined on the call by Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman and state Department of Transportation Commissioner Jeffrey Parker.

“Hailing from Fairfield County, I know all too well what a reduction in service or reliability on the New Haven line means for commuters in the area,” said Governor Malloy. “That’s why I felt it was important to call Howard to ask about any and all alternative options for commuters. Let me be clear: This isn’t about placing blame. We’ve had a record-breaking winter in terms of our weather, and our railcars and service facilities have not been kept up in the manner they should have been. We all know this is true. So in addition to my long-term focus on improving Metro-North’s reliability and functionality, I’m also focused on this short-term service reduction and ways in which we can help commuters get into and out of New York City more easily.”

Permut told Governor Malloy that Metro-North is operating under an expedited repair schedule, with crews working around the clock to put cars back in service as quickly as they can. Permut said that the lack of shop space has been an impediment to their success. In addition to funding for the M8 rail cars, Governor Malloy has also put funding for the New Haven rail yard  on his Bond Commission Agenda. That agenda is expected to be voted on later this month.

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Colleen Flanagan

Director of Communications
Governor Dannel P. Malloy
860-524-7308 (office)
860-770-8090 (cell)
Colleen.Flanagan@ct.gov

MY TAKE – State gets $120m for rail project

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

imageSpeaking as the person who racked up 110,000 miles on his car over the past six years – much of it attributed to traveling to and from customer locations around New England – I wholeheartedly think this is a great investment in Connecticut.

To begin with, I would have taken the train more often when I worked for Microsoft if I could have. Over the course of my career there I had customers in Connecticut – Trumbull, Berlin, Groton and Bristol – nowhere close to the rail lines for the most part. In Rhode Island I had them in Providence; the trains on that segment of the rail lines were not conducive to commuter traffic. The customers I had in Massachusetts and New Hampshire were the same too – way too far off the rail lines to make it economically feasible. At the same time it wasn’t conducive to the amount of hours in the workday either.

I am writing this blog post from Metro North. Using my phone as a 3G hotspot, I am posting this online on my way to my present employer Bloomberg in Manhattan. 

To perhaps suggest that people from the Wallingford area wouldn’t use the commuter rail line into New York City is inaccurate. There’s a co-worker of mine on the 5:40 that drives from Southington to New Haven to catch the train. There are many others getting on at Union Station in New Haven; I haven’t surveyed where everyone is from but I am sure they are not all from New Haven.

I can do work while I am riding in. I can read the newspaper. I can chat with people (on the ride home – it’s more or less understood in the AM that you’re going to not be carrying on a lot of conversation for the most part.)

Most likely, I’ll finish this post and the online copy of the RJ and nap from Stamford to Grand Central.

The time on the train is mine and I blow by traffic sitting at a standstill on I-95.

The cost for my monthly rail pass is $385.00 and it costs me $85.00 for the monthly parking pass at the Temple Street Garage (Union Station has about a two year waiting list).

When you divide that into 22 workdays you’re talking about a daily expense of about $22.00.

You can’t even park in the city for less than twice that amount.

There is going to be way less wear and tear on my car once this all comes to pass on the New Haven / Springfield corridor.

I’ll be walking the two miles to the station from my house.

The only way this could get any better would be if I could take a deduction on my taxes.

I realize the real cost of the train fare is subsidized. If I had to pay twice as much I wouldn’t necessarily like it but I would still do it as it is more economical than the alternative.

If we need to subsidize anything then the American worker is something I am going to pick every time.

There are uses for the train beyond commuting to work.

If there is a spur into Bradley International Airport just think of the ease of having someone drop you off at the Station in Wallingford or Meriden or where ever it is close for you and stepping off the train about an hour later at Bradley. No long drive there, no parking fees, no worries if your plane is late getting in as the trains will probably run every hour or so.

I could probably justify going down to one car in my household – four kids and all. The savings on insurance, taxes and upkeep would pay for any personal additional costs of taking the train from Wallingford to New Haven if I were to go that route.

For those that say the New Haven / Springfield line wouldn’t carry the ridership to justify the costs I say look at the success of Shoreline East from Old Saybrook to New Haven before you pass judgment.

How many cars are not on the road along those points due to that commuting option? How much in emissions is removed on a yearly basis? How much in total over the years?

I believe all the pluses outweigh the minuses.

The best part is you still have freedom of choice. You can always still take your car if you really need or really want to.

State gets $120m for rail project

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

As published in the Record Journal Tuesday October 26, 2010


By Robert Cyr
Record-Journal staff

rcyr@record-journal.com
(203) 317-2224

MERIDEN — Gov. M. Jodi Rell and other officials gathered at the downtown train station Monday to announce the federal government’s $120 million grant for high-speed rail service between Springfield, Mass., and New Haven, adding to the $260 million already approved by the state.

The planned 11 stop, 62-mile rail line through the center of the state is estimated to cost about $800 million to $1 billion to complete, which the state Department of Transportation hopes to do by 2016. Meriden, Wallingford, Berlin and Bradley International Airport would be stops along the new line.

“This is one of the best projects put together in the country,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn. “We’re relieving pressure along the Northeast corridor, and this is the critical piece needed to do that.”

The first phase of the project involves laying double track the length of the railway and constructing rail stations, Dodd said. Earlier this year, 10 miles of track were doubled between Newington and Berlin with $40 million in federal funding and $26 million in state money.

The remaining miles of track will take about five years to complete, he said. The work will be done by Connecticut-based companies, generating almost 5,000 jobs, Dodd said.

Although state officials fell short in their award package, they were undeterred and will look for more sources of funding, said Rell. The state originally applied for $220 million from the $2 billion in federal money to address state infrastructure projects.

“It’s not everything we asked for,” she said. “There will be other applications available, and we’ll certainly pursue those.”

Rell said the railway connecting the business centers of the state would bring attention to the smaller cities along the line, spreading business opportunities throughout the corridor.

“I always use Meriden as a good example,” she said. “This is one of those town-cities we can finally focus on when we get high speed rail.”

While a cost-benefit analysis has yet to be done on the project, preliminary state transportation studies have found that the trains would take an estimated 4,000 cars off the road each day, reducing carbon emissions by 10,000 tons a year, Dodd said.

The rail line would pass through the heart of the state’s “knowledge corridor” of 2 million people, a swath of cities of all sizes containing 32 colleges with 120,000 students, and 40,000 businesses, mostly small, he said.

“Certainly, there will be studies done,” he said. “But if you give people a chance to drive a short way, park their car and get on a train to go to work, and they’ll jump at a chance to use that system. This kind of project will remind people what we’re capable of doing.”

This month, Meriden officials learned the city had been awarded almost $1 million in state urban development and transportation funds to help acquire property in the area of the State Street train station, while $230,000 is earmarked for planning expenses.

Wallingford was forecast to have the busiest station on the line in a 2005 study, with 250 riders coming and going each day, although some say that number could be higher with spikes in gas prices. The town submitted a recommendation to the state Department of Transportation last summer that, should the commuter line materialize, the town would like its station relocated from where Hall Avenue and Quinnipiac Street intersect with Route 5 to the intersection of North Cherry and Parker streets, to ease traffic congestion in the downtown area.

Congressional representatives, state and local politicians and DOT Commissioner Jeffrey A. Parker also attended Monday’s announcement.

Connecticut’s announcement came on the same day that U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes of New Hampshire announced more than $2 million in stimulus funds to study a $300 million high-speed rail corridor. That project would run from Boston to Nashua, and on to Concord.

Massachusetts has already received $70 million in federal money to upgrade deteriorated tracks from Springfield to Vermont. The tracks now carry freight trains at speeds no faster than 10 miles per hour, but repairs are expected to eventually boost speeds to about 60 and 70 miles per hour.

Train service for years has been diverted east to Palmer to avoid the run-down tracks. Transportation officials want to rebuild those tracks to provide north-south passenger service to population centers in Chicopee, Holyoke, Amherst and Greenfield.

Information from The Associated Press was included in this report. 

Hail the rails!

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

This editorial was written and published in the Record Journal on Tuesday August 24, 2010

Sean W. Moore, President of the Greater Meriden Chamber of Commerce, lauds Connecticut’s Bond Commission approval last week of $260 million for improvements on the New Haven-to-Springfield railroad line.

Moore called that decision, in his column which ran on our editorial page of Wednesday, August 18, one that would go down in economic development history. His point could be taken further: it will be held a significant day in the history of Connecticut.

For decades, rail transport was allowed to deteriorate as huge sums went to building a national Interstate Highway System. The effect of that system was of course to ease traffic flow (at least temporarily) and speed the transportation of goods from center to center.

Today, however, we find that traffic on our wonderful Interstates and other major highways, has become almost as congested as towns and cities became by 1950 or ’55. Building expansions of our highway system today would not only be impossibly expensive but would require condemnation of huge swathes of land which are now used for other purposes. Border to border highways is not really a desirable quality of life.

In what might be the pinnacle of poor policy, the second complete pair of railroad tracks was eliminated from the New Haven to Springfield line about 20 years ago, putting an effective cap on the number of trains which could be operated safely using the occasional sidings for passing trains.

During recent years, however, amid fluctuations of oil prices, a realization that oil supplies must eventually run dry and a growing economic drain of buying imported oil, anti-rail policies have given way to something of an enthusiasm for restoring the ways of rail.

This makes particular sense in Connecticut, a very small state where land is precious, where railroad lines already exist, where cities are close together, and where effective intercity travel is needed to allow our population to live in one town and work in another. Traffic jams are no fun, even if driving your own car is presently more convenient.

Sean Moore referred to benefits of high speed travel (New Haven to Springfield) as well as efficient and convenient commuter travel among 11 stops along that corridor, including Windsor Locks which will provide a crucial connection to Bradley Field.

Other benefits? As House Speaker Chris Donovan says in his commentary on today’s page, these include up to 4,000 jobs, a billion gallons of gasoline per year saved, 10,000 fewer tons of carbon emissions annually and 4,000 fewer cars a day clogging the highways.

Connecticut has been fortunate to have had a number of local legislators persevering in their support of rail. It is fortunate also to have had a governor willing to see helpful possibilities of revived rail service for Connecticut’s economy. Working together, they have provided not only a substantial share of funding needed to restore and reshape the New Haven to Springfield line (through North Haven, Wallingford, Meriden and Berlin) but also a demonstration of Connecticut’s willingness to provide a fair share to earn federal economic stimulus funds for High Speed and Inter-City Service.

This effort appears to be entirely on track.

Commuter rail key to region’s economic future

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

As published in the Record Journal on Tuesday August 24, 2010

This op-ed piece was written by Christopher G. Donovan, Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives and a Democratic State Representative from Meriden.

After years of advocating, planning, studying, delays, and growing momentum, Connecticut will open an inland commuter rail service running the length of the state.

In a matter of years, we will have commuter and high-speed rail service between New Haven and Springfield. Riders can choose among 25 trains a day and stops every half-hour during the rush hours. The new trains will grow jobs, clean our environment and build our economy. According to Department of Transportation estimates, the project is expected to create up to 4,000 jobs, reduce gasoline usage by one billion gallons per year, lower carbon emissions by over 10,000 tons annually and remove 4,000 cars a day from our roads.

The rail line will span a total of 62 miles from New Haven to Springfield, with station service that will include Wallingford, Meriden, Hartford and Windsor Locks. The Windsor Locks stop will improve access and better connect travelers and businesses to Bradley International Airport, which is an important economic hub in our state.

Meriden’s station is particularly important due to its close proximity to major highways – I-91, Route 5 and 15, I-691 and I-84. Station improvements and development of the Hub area will surely revitalize Meriden’s downtown and the city’s economy.

As a new state representative back in 1995, I first began pushing legislation to establish commuter rail service from New Haven to Hartford that would include stops in Meriden, Berlin, Wallingford and North Haven. Why did Meriden residents have to pay Amtrak rates to travel north or south or to New York City? The only other option to the south is to drive to New Haven, pay parking fees and get a reduced rate on Metro North. The ride from New Haven to New York via Metro North is $18.50 peak. The same route on Amtrak is $83.00. Why couldn’t we use the tracks in our backyard, actually in the center of our city, and provide a much needed alternative to our highways. We could reduce cars on the road, use less fuel, energy and reduce carbon pollution.

We passed legislation to study the project and the Department of Transportation determined the rail service would enable economic growth, promote energy efficiency, reduce automobile, truck and air congestion and improve mobility and connectivity in the New England area.

This project reflects the goals of President Obama for a national network of high-speed and intercity rail. His administration has made mass transit a priority and is working with our congressional delegation, especially Senator Dodd and Representatives DeLauro, Larson and Murphy.

This April we met with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to discuss the costs and benefits of rail service. Thanks to this partnership that also includes the cooperation of Amtrak and support of the Obama administration through federal stimulus funds, we are now on the fast track.

Last week, the State Bond Commission allocated $260 million toward a New Haven-Hartford-Springfield high speed rail line. This puts Connecticut in a very strong position for matching federal funds of $220 million. We are working together – State Legislators, the Governor and Congress. We’re all on board.

In just a few years, we will be able to walk to the Meriden rail station or park in the station parking lot and take a commuter or high-speed train, at commuter prices to New Haven, the shoreline, New York, Hartford, Springfield or connect to the Bradley Airport.

During the Great Depression, our state and federal government built the Merritt Parkway as a means to rebuild the economy. Today, commuter high-speed rail service is an investment that will energize economic development along a transportation corridor that is critical to our state’s economy. It will help Meriden grow. It will help Connecticut grow. It will create jobs, conserve energy, and make for a cleaner environment. Our future is riding on it. All aboard!

What high-speed rail means for us

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

As published in the Record Journal Wednesday August 18, 2010

By Sean W. Moore

August 17, 2010 is a day that will go down in economic development history as the Governor’s Bond Commission approved a number of transportation related items and in particular Item Number 15.

The $260 million of funds will finance the costs associated with improvements necessary to implement commuter rail service on the 62 mile corridor between New Haven and Springfield, Massachusetts. In addition, this commitment demonstrates to the federal government that Connecticut has put up our fair share to compete on a multi-state project for the economic stimulus funds for High Speed and Inter-City Service.

Now that’s regionalism.

All of us in central Connecticut will be the beneficiaries of these actions. As a Transportation Strategy Board member, it is exciting for me to see our long range proposals get funded. As a chamber of commerce president, it is great to see additional affordable choices for workers and visitors to commute to fabulous sites in central Connecticut and beyond. As a resident, it’s great to see the opportunity for businesses to grow and to share the tax burden with the homeowners and personal property taxpayers.

The specific projected benefits are to reduce the number of vehicles on roads by approximately 4,000 cars each day and to generate close to 4,000 jobs. It is expected to save 1 billion gallons of fossil fuel annually and to reduce carbon emissions by over 10,000 tons a year.

This vision creates fabulous opportunities for transit-oriented development (TOD) within the half mile radius of improved rail stations along the line with parking and other necessary TOD amenities. Meriden will benefit from the Inter-City rail service as with Wallingford and Berlin benefiting from convenient commuter rail stops. We can connect our walking trails and local bus services with our downtowns and create livable and workable destinations in central Connecticut. We have a real opportunity here to create something.

I’d like to thank Governor Rell, Speaker Donovan and all of our legislative delegation for their long-range approach to economic development. Let’s get to work NOW! (For more details about the project, you can visit www.NHHSrail.com)

Sean W. Moore is the President of the Greater Meriden Chamber of Commerce .

His commentary is part of an occasional series entitled “ View from Colony Street. ”

FROM WALLINGFORD – Ready for that commuter train

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

100_1606_crop2 As published in the Record Journal – Sunday June 20, 2010

Last week I needed to travel to Florida for business and I was flying out of JFK. I tend to take flights from New York because I can get the direct flights I need without needing to stop for layovers and connecting flights and so forth.

Generally this means that I have to burn up about eight gallons of gas round trip, pay the tolls on the way and then there’s the cost of long term parking that just went up 20 percent (per day).

The travelling costs for a trip like this (gas, tolls, parking for seven days) is generally about $165.

So for this last trip I decided to try something different.

I got a ride to Union Station in New Haven and I took Metro North to Grand Central in Manhattan. From there I walked a few blocks to the subway and I took it to Jamaica Station. At Jamaica Station I grabbed the AirTrain directly to JFK.

I did the exact opposite for my trip home as well.

The cost for the train ticket to Grand Central was $38.50 round trip and the cost of the subway round trip was $15.00. My total savings was $110.00. If you want to cut $10 for my father’s fuel to Union Station in New Haven you’re still talking about a savings of $100.00.

Now this trip did take me an extra two hours of time each way to allow for train and subway schedules and travel time but the time was my own.

I wasn’t driving my car; I was free to read the paper or work on my laptop or even nap a bit (and I did all three).

Actually on the way down my original departing flight was cancelled so from the train I rebooked my flight. I could have done that from the car while driving but it would have been difficult to do safely. From a passenger seat of the train it went about as simply as possible.

Now if I was travelling with my wife and the kids or with a lot of bags this would obviously not make sense to do and it would actually cost more.

When you consider all of the single commuters out there you can see where the savings are. Not just in personal dollars but in costs from the consumption of fossil fuel and other costs of a single commuter on already overcrowded roads.

The only missing piece to this puzzle is getting from Wallingford to New Haven.

Amtrak only has six to eight trains (depending on the day) that travel the line — half before noon and the other half after. They are long travel passenger trains that generally are not well suited to be used for commuting.

The plan to bring a New Haven to Springfield commuter line is way overdue. There are New Canaan and Waterbury lines that serve the western side of the state in a north/south fashion and then there’s the Shoreline East that serves from the Old Saybrook area westward into New Haven.

There’s a big gap in the coverage of commuters along the I-91 corridor. Something that the New Haven to Springfield commuter line will resolve.

I am going to be headed to a Yankees/ Mets game on Saturday and I am going to take Metro North but I’ll have to park in the Union Station garage. This is a far better solution than driving into the city and try to park but it would be so nice to hop a train in Wallingford and change for the Yankee Clipper in New Haven.

This solution might be a few years away yet but I am one commuter that is looking forward to the arrival.