HARTFORD, CT — On its second day of free service, the Hartford Line was asking customers “making discretionary or optional trips” to consider changing their plans to make sure there is room for customers to get home.
Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, who was wearing a red polo shirt and baseball hat at Union Station in Hartford, asked customers to delay their travel.
He said they were working on getting everyone who rode the train back home.
That task involved adding buses, which would make stops at the Berlin, Meriden, and Wallingford stations.
“As of 1 p.m. today, Hartford Line ridership has exceeded available capacity. All train service is only to get people back to original destination. Buses are being dispatched to Hartford Union Station to relieve crowding. No new customers will be allowed to board at this time,” the DOT said in a tweet on the Hartford Line Twitter account.
The second day of service saw an overwhelming demand and despite attempts to provide extra service, DOT officials added bus service to ensure travelers were able to get back home.
Redeker said Amtrak had only wanted to run trains with one car. He said they were able to get them to run two-car trains, but it still wasn’t enough to meet demand.
A Hartford Line ticket is good both on the CTRail Hartford Line and Amtrak.
The state reported that 10,300 people had taken the train Saturday. Numbers for Sunday were not immediately available.
Ticketed passenger travel begins Monday.
A one-way ticket between Hartford and New Haven is $8.
It’s unclear if the new rail service between Hartford and New Haven will be a sustained success. The expansion of the corridor to allow the first new passenger rail service to open in Connecticut in nearly three decades cost $755 million, but officials are hoping the state will recover that investment much sooner.
“We also are very optimistic about the positive economic benefits already happening in the communities located in and around each train station,” Connecticut DOT Public Transportation Chief Rich Andreski said. “There’s some tremendous momentum that’s happening, and the New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield corridor is already starting to benefit.”