New Haven Catenary Replacement Project Update (February 20, 2015)
With the work that began in September 2014 on the final two segments of the catenary replacement project on the New Haven Line, we are heading down the home stretch, with the finish line in sight, on this massive effort.
Once this project phase is done in spring of 2017, the catenary upgrade project on the Connecticut-side of the line will be completed! Work on the two segments – from East Norwalk to Green's Farms and from Bridgeport to Milford – started simultaneously and involves replacement of about 10-1/2 miles of catenary along track and in our Bridgeport Yard.
This new work requires a continuous outage of only one of four tracks, which has a minimal impact on our operations in the area. This project is being funded and managed by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
In 2014, we completed catenary work in the seven-mile stretch between Southport and Bridgeport, allowing us to route peak-period trains on all four tracks in this area for the first time in four years. It also gave back to us greater operating flexibility and the ability to "run around" potential service disruptions during emergencies. With completion of this segment, 80% of the Connecticut catenary replacement project is finished.
In fact, a lot has been accomplished since work in this section started in November 2007. All catenary wire that powers the trains has been changed out – including complicated wire work at the Southport and Bridgeport interlockings (the section of track, signals and switches allowing trains to cross over from one track to another).
We also replaced four open-deck railroad bridges in Bridgeport and Fairfield (at North Benson Road, Fairfield Ave., South Ave. and Westway Road) with closed-deck ballast-style ones that provides a smoother ride. Another bridge (at Main St. in Bridgeport) was removed and filled in with backfill material flanked by retaining walls.
When this Connecticut-side catenary work is completed, we will have replaced the original "fixed termination" catenary (which can sag or contract due to temperature changes) first erected in 1907, with a state of the art constant tension system that better accommodates temperature extremes. (The New York State portion of the line was completed in 1995.)
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