Metro-North Railroad Waterbury branch

USA: Working with Connecticut Department of Transportation, Metro-North Railroad has completed the installation of signalling and Positive Train Control on the Waterbury Branch.

The single-track line had been the last section of MNCR still relying on manual block operation, and its resignalling completes the roll-out of the train protection system across the three-state network.

Dating from 1849, the historic Naugatuck Railroad has been worked by Metro-North since 1983, and the line was subsequently purchased by the state of Connecticut. It had been exempted from PTC implementation because it did not have any signalling. Train movements were authorised by a Rail Traffic Controller at Metro-North’s Operations Control Centre. However, the department and operator decided to install CTC and PTC to improve safety and operational flexibility.

Work on the project began in April 2019, funded by CTDOT from state and federal contributions. CTC installation was completed in November, enabling the PTC to be activated from November 20. The track has been upgraded to enable trains to operate at up to 75 km/h. New passing loops have been installed at Derby, Beacon Falls, and just south of Waterbury, with a fourth planned at Devon.

Making use of the new signalling and loops, CTDOT is looking to introduce a ‘two-way rail service’ on the branch in the coming months, envisaging up to 22 trains each weekday from the summer of 2022.

‘Simply put, PTC and signalisation mean better safety and better service,’ explained Joseph Giulietti, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation. ‘Metro-North has been an essential partner in advancing the Waterbury Branch into the future and helping lay the groundwork for expanded train service. We thank them for playing an important part in helping us move Connecticut forward.’

‘The successful installation of the new signal system on the Waterbury Branch allowed us to bring the final segment of Metro-North online for PTC, increasing passenger safety, while also giving us the ability to provide more service on the branch in the future’, added MNCR President Catherine Rinaldi. ‘I am excited for our Connecticut customers to reap the benefits of a smoother commuting experience.’