NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Rail enthusiasts rejoice.
“I love the train, I’ve been liking the train since I was a little kid,” said New Haven’s Rocky McLennon.
CT Rail rider Michael Ziggy said, “It’s quite beautiful. It’s quite nice.”
Starting at 4:30 in the morning during the week, 17 trains on the new CT Rail will get you from New Haven to Hartford to Springfield with several stops in between.
McLennon said, “I got here and the bus took off. So, I thought let me take the train and try it out.”
“We’ve been waiting for this service a long time and I’m happy to have it. I work in East Hartford. So, this is a big boom for me,” said CT Rail rider, Alain Barthelemy.
It may be a boom for him, but it was a bust for some. Over the weekend, one train had to be taken out of service when they offered free rides. It’s estimated nearly 22,000 riders showed up to try it out.
“In this big crowd that we had, this huge overwhelming demand, we had one locomotive that failed to operate and it was due to a brake related issue,” said CT Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker.
Redeker says that’s been fixed. So far, our cameras caught smaller crowds during the Tuesday commute.
Also, the bathrooms are out of commission as they work to get all these old, refurbished trains up to code.
Barthelemy said, “I wish the equipment was a little bit newer, I wish the bathroom issue was resolved and I mean it could certainly be better, but we can’t really complain at this point.”
All the passengers we spoke with are relieved to see the red shirted ambassadors at the ready to answer questions and are hoping this rail will make the state more competitive for business.
They’re even looking forward to more stations one day.
Somers resident Anne Moses said, “I’m looking forward to the Enfield station, when that hopefully comes.”
News 8’s Stephanie Simoni inquired about how many paying customers and is still waiting back to hear from the CT DOT.
On Tuesday morning our cameras recorded about 15 people getting off a train in New Haven and about 6 hop on board at 8 a.m. that morning.