Work continues on new commuter rail service from New Haven to Springfield

MERIDEN --  The Department of Transportation confirmed to FOX61 that they have selected a provider to operate the new Hartford Line commuter rail service.

“The Department of Transportation has selected a provider to operate the Hartford Line passenger service and is currently negotiating an agreement," DOT spokesman Judd Everhart said. "Once the agreement is finalized and signed, the name of the provider will be announced."

In the meantime, construction to three new train stations along the line are nearing completion. FOX61 received the following update on the construction from the DOT Thursday:

“The Wallingford Station is scheduled to be complete in construction by the end of this month. Meriden will follow by mid August. Berlin is slightly delayed due to some rework required by the station fire that occurred last year. Berlin should be complete in time to support the launch of expanded service on the Hartford Line. CTDOT plans on working with Amtrak to put the new station platforms in to service for the existing Amtrak trains this year, ahead of the launch of expanded service scheduled for 2018. We are working on finalizing a date for putting the new platforms in to service now. “

Meriden’s Mayor Kevin Scarpati said he sees the new train station and rail line as an important part of their downtown revitalization efforts currently in the making.

"It puts Meriden on the map because it's easy access to business professionals or entrepreneurs that want to work in the bigger cities like Hartford, New Haven, or even beyond into New York City or Boston. Meriden is much more affordable than some of those big cities,” Mayor Scarpati said.

He also said projects like their recently opened downtown park and new apartment buildings being constructed are all part of the long term vision for the city.

"The projects are already underway the bricks and the foundations are being laid, people are already moving in. Just bringing life back to downtown and it starts with people, transportation, and giving people a reason to come back downtown,” Scarpati said.

The Hartford Line will connect communities from New Haven through Springfield, Massachusetts with stops planned along the I-91 corridor, in Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, Hartford, Windsor, and Windsor Locks.

The current phase of the project, costing roughly $770 million, is being funded through state and federal dollars. According to the project’s website, roughly $380 million is needed to fulfill the entire vision which would include new train stations in Newington, West Hartford, and Enfield.