Shore Line East

Shore Line East

Shore Line East

Ex-Amtrak CTDOT P40DC #841 at New Haven Union Station
Type Commuter rail line
Locale Southeastern Connecticut
Termini Stamford
New Haven
Old Saybrook
New London
Stations 13
Opened 1990
Owner Amtrak
(east of Shoreline Junction)
Connecticut DOT
(west of Shoreline Junction)
Operator(s) Amtrak
(under contract to the Connecticut DOT)
Character Elevated and surface-level
Rolling stock Push pull coaches
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification 25kV 60 Hz AC (only used by Amtrak)
Route map
Continuation backward
Northeast Corridor to Boston
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New London Amtrak
Bridge over water
Niantic Bay
Bridge over water
Connecticut River
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Old Saybrook Amtrak
Stop on track
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
Unknown BSicon "ACC"
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
Unknown BSicon "ACC"
New Haven-State Street
Unknown BSicon "ACC"
New Haven-Union Station Amtrak
Junction to left Track turning from right
Unknown BSicon "xpHST" Stop on track
Unknown BSicon "xpHST" Stop on track
Unknown BSicon "STRD" Unknown BSicon "STRU"
Junction from left Track turning right
Unknown BSicon "ACC"
Bridgeport Amtrak
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Stamford Amtrak
Continuation forward
Northeast Corridor/New Haven Line

Shore Line East (SLE) is a commuter rail service operating in southern Connecticut, USA. A fully owned subsidiary of the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT), SLE provides service seven days a week along the Northeast Corridor from New London west to New Haven, with continuing service to Bridgeport and Stamford, and connecting service to New York, New York via the Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line. It operates along tracks owned by Amtrak (New London to New Haven) and the state of Connecticut (New Haven to Stamford).



The section of the Northeast Corridor SLE operates on was once the New York-Boston mainline of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. This line (northeast of the junction with the New York and Harlem Railroad in Woodlawn) was referred to as the Shore Line, to distinguish it from the Main Line to Springfield, Massachusetts.

In recognition of the large role played by the New Haven in the history and heritage of the state of Connecticut, ConnDOT paints SLE's diesel-powered locomotives in the New Haven's colors and "NH" markings.

Shore Line East is not the first commuter train to run this route. The New Haven Railroad operated local service on this route up until its merger with Penn Central. In 1976, Amtrak brought the service back with the Clamdigger, a service running between New Haven and Providence. The train itself, however, was operated with only one or two Rail Diesel Cars.

SLE was established as a temporary service to newly-reopened local stations between Union Station in New Haven and Old Saybrook, to alleviate traffic congestion that arose from scheduled construction work on the parallel Interstate 95.

Railroad bridge over the Connecticut River, ca. 1908

The service began on May 29, 1990, with four trains each way during the morning and evening. The train was threatened to be cut in 1991 by then Gov. Lowell Weicker. But that was not to be as the restored service proved more popular than expected, and the service was made permanent, and extended one station east to New London in February 1996. To attract more riders, some peak hour trains were extended to provide one seat rides via SLE to employment centers in Bridgeport and Stamford beginning in December 2001.

Current service

Most weekday SLE trains run local westbound from Old Saybrook to New Haven in the morning, with some nonstop eastbound service. This traffic pattern is reversed in the afternoon and evening rush. A handful operate through New Haven to or from Stamford.

Most weekend SLE trains also run local westbound in the morning, then express in the afternoon, stopping at Guilford. Eastbound service is reversed. This is due to the fact that Branford, Madison, Clinton, and Westbrook only have platforms on the eastbound track and thus switching is needed to platform a westbound train. All weekend trains run New Haven-Old Saybrook only.

A select number of SLE trains operate to and from New London Station on weekday mornings and evenings. New London SLE multi-ride pass holders are also allowed to board selected Regional trains, or Acela Express train #2151. There is no through service to New London on weekends. There are plans to increase the service to New London, which is limited by U.S. Coast Guard requirements regarding the bridge crossing the Connecticut River. The first part of this plan was initiated on February 16, 2010 as an additional roundtrip in the peak period was extended to New London. Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell has promised to extend 4 more roundtrips to New London by the end of 2010.[1] Another 3 roundtrips were added on May 10, 2010.[2] All trains that do not operate west of New Haven make a connection to a Metro-North Railroad train at New Haven, for service to and from points in Connecticut, Westchester County, New York, and New York City.

Although SLE service is funded by ConnDOT, it is operated under contract by Amtrak. Amtrak owns and dispatches the Northeast Corridor east of New Haven. West of New Haven, the Corridor is owned by ConnDOT and dispatched by Metro-North.

Rolling stock

Shore Line East #6695, an EMD GP40-2H, in New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad livery at Union Station in New Haven, Connecticut.

In contrast to the electric multiple units used on Metro-North's New Haven Line, which are also purchased in part by the state of Connecticut, all SLE trains are diesel push-pull trains.

SLE runs diesel service because Amtrak had not yet electrified the Northeast Corridor between New Haven and Boston at the time service began. The original SLE service operated with 2 F-7s and 10 Pullman-Standard coaches purchased from Pittsburgh's PATrain. The cab cars were refitted with head-end power generators, as the locomotives did not have this feature since the train had been steam-heated while operating in Pittsburgh. These cars were retired not long after service began, as SLE was intended to be temporary itself.

In 1991, ConnDOT purchased Bombardier Shoreliner III coaches, similar to ones already used on the Danbury Branch and Waterbury Branch and leased GP-38s and one GP-7W from Guilford Transportation Industries. In 1994, ConnDOT purchased rebuilt SPV-2000 railcars from Amtrak, known as Constitution Liners. In 1996, SLE took delivery of six GP40-2H diesels to replace the entire motive power fleet. As of 2008, the Shoreliner coaches have been moved to Metro-North, and the Constitution Liners have been retired.

In late 2004, SLE purchased 33 single level Mafersa coaches from Virginia Railway Express (VRE), to increase its fleet size and accommodate higher ridership, as well as to provide a critical reserve in case of mechanical breakdown. Mindful of the weather-related equipment failures that plagued both Connecticut commuter railroads in the winter of 2003-2004, Governor Jodi Rell directed that the new cars be put into service immediately, without even taking time to paint them in SLE livery. As of late 2007, all former VRE coaches have been rehabilitated inside and out.

In 2008, Shore Line East purchased P40's from Amtrak which had been previously leased. CDOT logos are now patched over the Amtrak logos, although the Amtrak paint scheme remains.

In a March 2009 progress report on the project to procure new M8 cars for use along the Metro North New Haven Line, the Department of Transportation revealed that the cars will be equipped to also draw power from the 25 kV AC lines in use along SLE starting in 2010.[3]

Growth of the system

Shore Line East has been growing in recent years as state officials seek to improve service and reduce traffic congestion. Recent improvements include:

  • 2003: State Street Station opens in New Haven, closer to downtown than Union Station.[4]
  • August 2005: New stations with high-level platforms open at Branford and Clinton, replacing stations with low-level platforms.[4]
  • November 28, 2005: New station with high-level platforms and 176 parking spaces opens at Guilford, replacing an earlier station with low-level platforms.[4]
  • September 24, 2007: New Madison Station under construction.
  • November to December, 2007: First-ever weekend service on the line. Weekend service was cut after the holidays.[5]
  • July 2008: Weekend service begins again.[6]
  • July 28, 2008: New Madison station opens for service.[7]
  • February 16, 2010: An additional roundtrip train has been extended to/from New London.[1]
  • May 10, 2010: 3 additional roundtrips were extended to New London.[2]

Despite these improvements, parking remains an issue at Shore Line East stations, perhaps due to oil price increases since 2003 causing increased ridership.[8]

Station stops

  • Stamford (shared with Amtrak and Metro-North)(limited service)
  • Bridgeport (shared with Amtrak and Metro-North)(limited service)
  • Stratford (one eastbound/day only)
  • Milford (one eastbound/day only)
  • Union Station (New Haven) (shared with Amtrak and Metro-North)
  • State Street Station (New Haven) (shared with Metro-North)
  • Branford
  • Guilford
  • Madison
  • Clinton
  • Westbrook
  • Old Saybrook (shared with Amtrak)
  • New London (shared with Amtrak)

See also


External links

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