Christine Cohen

State Senator

Christine Cohen

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Listening, Advocating & Getting Results

September 6, 2023


THE SHORELINE – State Senators Christine Cohen, Norm Needleman and Martha Marx and a host of regional state representatives today called on Amtrak to provide alternative solutions to the Shore Line East service cuts that have been caused by the rail work needed for the Amtrak Fitter Interlocking Project.

Shore Line East is funded by the State of Connecticut, but Amtrak owns and controls the Northeast Rail Corridor east of New Haven.

The service cuts due to the Amtrak work will reduce weekday schedules from 22 trains a day between New Haven Union Station and New London Station to just 14. The two trains that run between New Haven and Old Saybrook are unchanged, but there will be no connecting bus service between Old Saybrook and New London.

Weekend schedules will be reduced from 16 to 14 trains per day between New Haven Union Station and New London Station, although more trains will stop at Madison Station.

“Commuters across our shoreline corridor learned about these major service cuts less than one week before they went into effect,” said  Sen. Cohen, who represents Branford, Madison, Guilford, North Branford, Killingworth, East Haven, Durham and Middlefield and who serves as Senate Chair of the Transportation Committee. “Not only has this service disruption been poorly communicated, but there have also been no reasonable alternative services proposed during these interruptions, which could last all the way through December. I appreciate the investments that Amtrak is making in our rail lines in order to make our public transportation faster and safer, something I have long been a proponent of, but it’s unacceptable to leave residents who rely on Shore Line East high and dry for the next several months. I’m calling on Amtrak – at a bare minimum – to restore peak service and complete this work during off-peak hours or provide a dedicated bus service during on-peak hours.”

“Shore Line East is an important local resource for thousands of commuters, and this reduction in service with short notice – while temporary – will cause significant issues for them,” said Sen. Needleman who represents Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Portland, East Hampton, Colchester, Haddam, East Haddam, Chester, Lyme, Deep River and Essex. “The work that Amtrak plans to do will improve service in the long-term, but these short-term interruptions and frustrations are unacceptable. There has to be a better way to get this done, and I hope solutions can be found in short order.”

“Resources like Shore Line East are essential in areas like New London. People move here knowing they have close proximity to public transportation that can get them where they need to go,” said Sen. Marx who represents New London, Old Saybrook, Waterford, Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, Old Lyme, and Salem. “These cuts were poorly communicated and will leave a lot of people who rely on the trains struggling. They need their services as they were promised.”

“There’s no question that these cuts in service pose a significant headache for commuters in our region, and I agree with my colleagues that continuing in this manner into the winter would prove untenable for our constituents. This work should be performed during off-peak hours.” said House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora who represents North Branford, Guilford, East Haven, Durham.

“These last-minute service interruptions have pulled the rug out from under Branford parents of school children. They were quite literally left in shock, with few options as to how they would get to work at the beginning of the school year.” said State Representative Robin Comey who represents Branford.

“The investments Amtrak is making are important and necessary to the commuter experience, but the rollout has been extremely disappointing, particularly for the residents who rely on this railway every day,” State Representative John-Michael Parker, who represents Durham and Madison, said. “The public deserves transparency and solutions. I strongly urge Amtrak to step up and deliver the services our commuters need.”

“I’m incredibly disappointed by Amtrak’s decision to complete a maintenance project that will greatly disrupt the Shore Line East Line service. Amtrak’s poor and unclear communication has blindsided many local residents who rely daily on Shoreline East. Delays caused by repair projects are not out of the norm but cutting services at a high-volume time with little notice is unacceptable. My colleagues and I will continue to fight for improved services for this vital resource in our community,” said State Representative Moira Rader who represents Guilford and Branford.

“It is vital that Amtrak reconsider the schedule changes and construction hours along Shore Line East. These changes were not only a surprise to Shore Line East riders, but this disruption has caused distress to commuters, students, and others who rely on this service for their livelihoods. It was poorly handled by Amtrak, and services should be restored, or at the very least greater options given to those who use the rail line,” Representatives Devin Carney  and Chris Aniskovich  said. Rep. Carney represents Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook, while Rep. Aniskovich represents Clinton, Killingworth, and Westbrook.