Courtney Attends Steel Rail Unloading As New England Central Railroad Infrastructure Upgrades Get Underway
(Norwich, CT) —Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) joined officials from the New England Central Railroad (NECR), a subsidiary of Darien-based Genesee & Wyoming Inc., for the ceremonial unloading of steel rails that will be used to upgrade the freight rail line running through Willimantic. The sections of continuously welded rail will be used to upgrade a nine-mile-long section of track across eastern Connecticut. The work will create about 100 construction jobs around the Windham area. Funded in part by a 2014 U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER Grant that Courtney helped secure, this project will upgrade rail infrastructure to accommodate modern freight rail carloads up to 286,000 lbs. from New London to Stafford.
“This project has been a long time coming, and when it’s completed, it will greatly expand our freight capacity throughout eastern Connecticut and at the Port of New London,” said Courtney. “The federal TIGER funding I helped secure proved critical in the effort to leverage matching funds from private industry to get this project underway. These upgrades will allow the Port of New London to expand the amount of freight cargo that can be shipped in and sent out by rail across the region. This development is bound to expand industry and create new jobs across eastern Connecticut as shipping continues to grow.”
In 2014, a federal TIGER VII infrastructure grant worth $8.2 million was awarded to the Connecticut Department of Transportation to upgrade the NECR main line through Connecticut allowing it to handle modern freight car shipments weighing up to 286,000 lb. The project will upgrade the existing line with new continuous welded rails, 15,000 new crossties, and 15,000 tons of ballast. Since the initial grant was awarded, the necessary environmental reviews, engineering studies, budgets, and project agreements have been developed and accepted. The estimated cost of this work is approx. $12.8 million and will include a match from NECR worth $4.6 million.
NECR is a critical north-south rail freight corridor in Connecticut, running between the deep-water port of New London and the Vermont-Canadian border. In addition to New London, the line serves the communities of Franklin, Norwich, Stafford, Willimantic, and Stafford Springs in Connecticut.