The NVCOG hosted the Naugatuck Valley Rail Conference on January 13th of 2020. The conference brought together the region’s mayors, first selectmen and its state legislative delegation to push for action on several projects to create a more attractive and dynamic commuter rail line through the Naugatuck Valley. The conference was convened at the request of the co-chairs of the Waterbury Rail Committee: Mayor Pete Hess of Naugatuck and Mayor Neil O’Leary of Waterbury.

The Waterbury Rail Committee is committed to addressing the lack of convenient service, poor condition of rail cars and operational deficiencies on the Waterbury Rail Line, and steadfast in efforts to increasing service and making the Waterbury Rail Line a modern, state-of-the-art rail line.

The purpose of the Conference was to present a proposed Waterbury Rail Line improvement program and engage key decision-makers in the discussion of how best to advance the program. The State of Connecticut has initiated an infrastructure improvement project for the Waterbury Rail Line. An investment of about $116 million has been committed by the state to install a traffic control signal system, implement Positive Train Control and construct passing sidings at four locations. Completion of the signal system and PTC is scheduled for December 2020, and both are expected to become fully operational by mid-2021. Once operational, and in conjunction with the passing sidings, up to 10 trains per hour could be run on the WRL. The proposed improvement program will finish the work started by the CTDOT and take full advantage of the current investment in infrastructure upgrades. Realization of this investment in the line will be the catalyst for substantial economic investment in the areas in and around the stations and is one of Connecticut’s best opportunities for economic growth and expansion.