SHORE LINE EAST TRAINS TO & FROM NEW LONDON
New London’s busy transit center is busier that ever with the addition of a Shore Line East schedule of trains to New Haven – and connecting to New York. While we are still working for more trains, we in the Shoreline East Coalition are extremely pleased to read that the CTDOT mid-year report shows SLE ridership to New London has increased over 600% since the start of additional service in January. CTDOT officials have pointed out that it typically takes three years for commuter service to catch on as people and businesses need time to gain confidence in its reliability and effectiveness. This is a very good start after only six months.
New London now has the following schedule of trains Monday – Friday:
Trains depart NL at 5:50am, 6:55am, 6:03pm, 7:30pm, 8:35pm
Trains arrive in NL at 6:35am, 5:40pm, 6:54pm, 7:40pm, and 9:58pm
Using CTDOT’s June's numbers, Union Station-New London has 60 passengers per day compared with other SLE stations of 130 to 230 passengers per day (excluding New Haven). Keep in mind that SLE service to New London is only 10 trains each weekday while all other SLE stations have 22 trains on weekdays. Unfortunately, New London has no mid-day service and no trains whatsoever on Saturdays or Sundays. Until Union Station-New London gets a full complement of trains, any ridership comparisons will need an asterisk.
One interesting observation: Far and away, the bulk of the ridership is to New London, not from New London (2200 vs 1200). This passenger demographic differs from all other SLE stations and reinforces our belief that New London is not just a commuter stop for New Haven workers. New London, and all of southeastern Connecticut, is a destination in and of itself. People want to come here. If New London had a schedule addressing the needs of our train passengers, including weekend service that would allow visitors to avoid the traffic jams on I-95, SLE ridership would jump and our economy would prosper.
These numbers portray a very positive trend to all of us at the Shoreline East Coalition. Any train service that is growing at 25% to 50% per month (not per year!) is a passenger rail service going in the right direction. With your help, we will continue working to bring full SLE train service to New London on a regular – and weekend – schedule.