BRANFORD, CT — Three years after work started, town and state officials, including the governor, Friday celebrated the opening of the newly renovated Branford train station.
Starting Nov. 5, the station will accommodate traffic from both directions for the first time.
The new platform on the northbound side of the station compliments the existing southbound platform along with an “up and over” pedestrian walkway that includes elevators, stairs, and ADA-compliant accessibility.
A state-of-the art “Train Approach Messaging System” (TAMS) was also installed to alert people on the platform that a train is approaching.
Also included in the recently completed project is a bicycle parking area, a new canopy for shelter from the elements, and a number of parking, landscaping and other amenities. There are now about 375 free parking spaces at Branford station.
The renovation was conducted at the same time as a similar one in nearby Guilford, where the northwest corner of the train station’s platform is being extended.
The overall cost of both projects was close to $11 million.
Branford First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove said the train station renovation “truly means a lot to the town of Branford” and said it brings with it the potential for future redevelopment.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the Branford renovation is an important step in the state’s “continued commitment to improve rail service.”
Malloy said the state’s “lack of commitment of resources to transportation in the past has hurt our economy. We are now, since I’ve been governor, taking appropriate steps to improve in this area.”
Malloy said residents should be able to live in the state without a car.
“Shore Line East has proven to be an important link in our commuter rail network, and improvements like these make it more enticing for commuters to get out of their cars and onto the train,” Malloy said. “We are committed to this work because a strong transportation system means a strong economy.”
Rep. Lonnie Reed, D-Branford, said she remembers when the station was “a sad little shed that you apologized for when colleagues came to visit.”
Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr., D- Branford, a cancer amputee who has been a strong supporter of those with disabilities, said he is very happy that the renovated station “is fully accessible to people with disabilities.”
Department of Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker said he’s hoping the renovations have a ripple effect on the economy.
In addition to Branford, there are Shore Line East stations at State Street in New Haven and in Guilford, Madison, Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, and New London. Connections to Metro-North’s New Haven Line and Amtrak are available at New Haven’s Union Station. More information on the rail line is available at www.shorelineeast.com.