Journal Inquirer: Train platform would create Enfield stop on Hartford Line
ENFIELD — Town Manager Christopher Bromson presented plans Tuesday for a multimillion-dollar train platform that would create a new stop on the Hartford Line and could be fully funded by state and federal funds.
The new platform would be near the intersection of Main and South River streets where an old station stood until 1986, Bromson said.
“For a hundred years we had train service in Enfield, so this is sort of going back to the future,” Bromson told the Town Council during his presentation.
Designs include over 100 parking spaces, a bus drop-off, a 200-foot-long platform, and a utility building that includes all the amenities of a train station, including ticket purchasing and a sheltered waiting area. The plan also includes the reconstruction of the South River Street bridge and allows for potential expansion of the train platform.
“It’s going to be transformational for the town,” Bromson said.
Bromson and his staff, including Deputy Director of Economic and Community Development Nelson Tereso, said this fits into the larger revitalization plan for the downtown Thompsonville area.
“The Enfield train station will assist in spurring the revitalization of neighboring properties that are considered by the town as prime locations for economic redevelopment,” Tereso said.
These neighboring properties include the Casket Building at 33 N. River St. and several adjacent properties that are owned by Eversource but are available for the town to use.
The Department of Transportation and Gov. Ned Lamont have expressed their support for the project that is estimated to cost between $20 million and $30 million, Bromson said.
He said the town set aside $675,000 of its own money in the early stages of planning for this project that will be used only if needed. He also said that over $3 million has been available to Enfield through a federal earmark that is more than 10 years old, but otherwise it will be completely funded by state and federal funds.
U.S. Rep. Joseph D. Courtney, D-2nd District, was in attendance at Tuesday’s council meeting to provide insight into the federal support for this project.
“It looks like all the pieces have been put together really intelligently,” Courtney said. “What Enfield is doing, the direction it’s heading, I think really is totally in tandem with where Washington is heading and Hartford is heading.”
Other local leaders expressed their support for the project as well, including Sen. John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, who serves on the legislature’s transportation committee and who also said he lives within walking distance of the proposed platform.
“I’ll do whatever I can to expedite this,” Kissel said. “This is going to be a game-changer for Thompsonville.”
Rep. Carol Hall, R-Enfield, said this project has been talked about by Enfield town officials since the 1990s.
“This has been a project in long waiting,” Hall said. “We’re going to push our very hardest to get it over the finish line.”
Rep. Thomas Arnone, D-Enfield, said he has been working with the governor for years to push for this project and that he is pleased to see it finally coming to fruition. He said this is a result of the right people working together.
“We’ve done it because of bipartisan support,” Arnone said.
Council members reacted positively to the presentation.
“Twelve years ago I was dead set against the train station,” Councilman Joseph Bosco said. “I changed my mind.”
No official action was taken at the council meeting. The next step for the project will come in March when engineers from the state Transportation Department present their final design.
Arnone said that until then there is still work to be done.
“I’m not going to quit until we’re all on the train taking a trip to Hartford,” Arnone said.