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Wethersfield residents concerned after rail line re-opens after being dormant for over a decade

WETHERSFIELD-- A rail line that was dormant for over 10-years is about to be put back into use and neighbors are concerned over certain safety measures.

Robert Fabrizi and his family recently moved back to Wethersfield and said he is worried about the school-aged children crossing the tracks.

Fabrizi said, “A lot of children walk up through the street to the school so that is definitely a concern and a lot of traffic coming up and down the street. Even with the new stop signs involved I see a lot of traffic going right through it.”

Fabrizi said he would like more safety measures to be put into place.

Fabrizi said, “There are numerous crossings throughout this Wethersfield area and I suppose it’s quite expensive to start putting the gates and lights, but there is a bit of a concern.”

The rail line will be carrying freight to the Providence and Worcester areas.

Genessee and Wyoming Inc. own the rail line and sent out a statement that reads:

We're excited to provide this important link for Connecticut businesses to ship by rail, with the long-term goal of an efficient and economical freight-rail link between Springfield and New Haven.

The new service on the Wethersfield line saves several days of transit in both directions, avoiding the possibility of the freight moving to truck, and we're hopeful that future business on the line will further reduce highway congestion. One freight train can remove the equivalent of up to 200 trucks from public roads. Rail is the safest and most fuel-efficient form of ground freight transportation, and each ton-mile of freight moved by rail rather than highway reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 75 percent.

The service is one train per day in each direction at 10 mph, at which they're estimated to clear a grade crossing in 1.5 minutes. Freight is primarily soil from state projects, lumber and steel.

Michael E. Williams
Spokesperson, Providence and Worcester Railroad

Transportation officials said they are doing everything they can to make sure residents are aware and safe.

Kevin Burns with the Department of Transportation said, "We want to prevent real tragedies, so we reach out to the community, so they are not surprised by the service then all of a sudden they have an accident.”

Burns said he hears requests for more safety measures, but said it's not up to his department.

Kevin Burns said, “There is no plans to install gates at the crossings other that what is here, so they did make safety improvements here they put up stop signs at all the crossings they made sure all the signs are correct.

Other neighbors we spoke to said the area will just have to wait to see if the rail line will impact residents.

Robert Jones said, “I look forward to it, I think the kids cross the tracks after school and as long as everybody is diligent and pays attention to it, everybody should be fine.”

The rail line is set to open June 3rd.

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