Courtney Tours Construction Progress on the New England Central Railroad
(Norwich, CT) – On Monday, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) toured the construction progress on the New England Central Railroad (NECR) near Stafford Springs. The NECR is a subsidiary of the Darien-based Genesee & Wyoming railroad company, and it is a critical north-south freight rail corridor in Connecticut running between the deep-water port of New London and the Vermont-Canadian border. In 2014, Courtney helped to secure a U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER Grant that is being used to upgrade the rail line, doubling its current cargo capacity and significantly increasing the commercial value of the Port of New London.
”Once this project is finished, it will be a game-changer for eastern Connecticut,” said Courtney. “Expanding freight rail capacity will help grow the Port of New London, which has been vastly underutilized as a commercial shipping hub. The project has created about 100 construction jobs in north-central Connecticut and was funded in part by a 2014 U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER Grant that which was critical in the effort to leverage matching funds from private industry. This project is going to expand industry and create new jobs across eastern Connecticut as shipping increases in the coming years.”
The upgrades will allow the rail line to handle new 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 includes a match from Genesee & Wyoming worth $4.6 million. The current project has come in over $3 million under-budget, and surplus funds will be used to make additional infrastructure improvements along the line.