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Connecticut asks Amtrak to add cars to address overcrowding

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HARTFORD — Connecticut officials are asking Amtrak to add cars to some trains traveling between New Haven and Springfield, Massachusetts, to alleviate overcrowding.

Expanded passenger rail service on the 62-mile (100-kilometer) Hartford Line between New Haven and Springfield began in June.

The Hartford Courant reports that Amtrak says it’s now working with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to resolve crowding issues occurring on some Hartford Line trains. Amtrak trains on the Hartford Line have two cars.

Connecticut Public Radio reported Friday that passengers with college student transit passes were kicked off Amtrak when trains reached capacity.

Connecticut’s transportation commissioner, James Redeker, says that’s not supposed to happen. An Amtrak spokesperson told the radio station they had no record of removing passengers.

Amtrak often works on a reservation system, selling only as many seats as are available. The Hartford Line removed caps on ticket sales.

Rail service was expanded to ease congestion along the Interstate 91 corridor.

The $765 million project, which began with a feasibility study 14 years ago, included the construction of 21 new bridges and the laying of 21 miles of new track, allowing for a second working track between New Haven and Hartford.

Some of the round trips are operated by the state of Connecticut; the others are Amtrak trains. The state’s trains have four cars.

Amtrak could potentially use some of Connecticut’s rail cars that aren’t currently in use, Redeker told Connecticut Public Radio. He said the good news is that ridership is growing.

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