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Amtrak starts running buses to help Hartford Line

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SPRINGFIELD,  Mass. - If you plan on taking Amtrak north of New Haven starting Monday, you may end up on a bus instead of the train.

Passengers on nearly all Amtrak shuttles between New Haven and Springfield will be riding buses for about a year or so, Amtrak and the state transportation department said. The Vermonter and Northeast Regional trains will operate as usual.

The switch will allow construction crews long stretches of uninterrupted work-time to install a second set of tracks along the route, a key component of the Hartford Line that Connecticut wants to launch by the end of 2016.

"We're going to open up two six-hour windows where there is no train traffic on the tracks and that allows the contractor to get out there and work expeditiously to get the track rolling." said John Bernick, Connecticut Department of Transportation assistant rail administrator.

Amtrak will substitute the rail service with buses on the following trains, Monday through Friday:

Leaving New Haven and headed to Springfield:
#490 (8:40 a.m.)
#470 (10:30 a.m.)
#476 (5:20 p.m.)

Leaving Springfield and headed to New Haven:
#495 (7:10 a.m.)
#493 (10:30 a.m.)
#479 (7:25 p.m.)

This is all part of the ongoing improvements to rail service in the state which includes new and improved stations along the way.

Starting in August, there will be certain Saturdays where rail service is halted for the entire day and shuttle buses are used on routes.

Currently, Connecticut has one track north of New Haven.

There are plans to put down a second rail to increase service.

Amtrak will reach out to customers to alert affected customers.

Representatives will be on sites directing customers in and off of bus services to lessen confusion.

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