Gov. Dannel P. Malloy toured an Enfield site Thursday where community organizers are hoping to build a commuter train station on the planned rail line between New Haven and Springfield.
State transportation officials believe the commuter rail line will be up and running by the end of 2016 and are considering locations to add passenger stations. Community organizers in the Thompsonville section of Enfield have purchased property along the Amtrak line and are lobbying the state to approve the site for a commuter stop.
“When you look at this site and you look at Thompsonville, this would be a great venue to bring transit-oriented development to this neighborhood that’s had some economic issues and revitalize it, bring some younger people in who would want public transportation, maybe would want to buy property here,” Rep. David Alexander, D-Enfield, said.
Malloy did not commit to approving the location as a future train stop, but he said the state has already invested $550,000 in its renovation. He said the Transportation Department will continue to evaluate the Enfield site and other locations.
“I do believe this is a location that would be ripe for a train station. I’ve instructed the [transportation] commissioner to do all the work necessary to understand the implications and costs of that so we can move forward and establish a train station here,” he said. “… I’m prepared to move this project forward.”
The Enfield Community Development Corporation purchased the property in January. It includes a building constructed in 1893. The structure has housed manufacturing equipment and once served as a rail shipping and receiving point. Darrin LaMore, the Enfield Community Development Corporation’s executive director, said the building will someday function as a train station.
Malloy toured several stories of the old factory building. Outside, the governor and other officials climbed up an embankment to look at the nearby rail lines. That survey ended abruptly when a state trooper assigned to Malloy’s security detail noticed an oncoming train headed down the tracks.
The train roared by and the officials withdrew back down the embankment. A subsequent press conference was conducted safely away from the tracks.