Hartford & Metro-North Show Interest in New Danbury to Southeast Rail Line
In April 2019, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton announced on The Ethan and Lou Show that he proposed refurbishing an abandoned commuter rail line to connect Danbury with Metro-North's Harlem Line, which could save up to one hour of commute time.
This past week, according to CT Insider, state assemblyman Stephen Meskers from Greenwich introduced a bill asking the DOT Commissioner to study the viability of the fast track rail line.
The abandoned fast track is known as the Maybrook Line, which connects Danbury with the Metro-North Harlem Line station in Southeast, NY. The Maybrook once served Danbury, Bethel, Newtown, Derby, Putnam, Dutchess, and Orange counties in New York during the late 1800s.
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council has already awarded a $1 million grant to research the idea. Keep in mind that after the coronavirus hit, Metro-North ridership nose-dived by 69% on the Danbury line, but this past week interest resurfaced.
According to an April 2019 article in the Hartford Courant, the Maybrook Line would require some extensive repair and track replacement work to the tune of $50 to $70 million. The tracks are owned by the Housatonic Railroad and run behind the Danbury Fair Mall and parallel to I-84. The drive from the Danbury station to the Southeast station is approximately 14 miles.
If the Maybrook line becomes a reality, Danbury commuters could choose to ride an express train to Manhattan in less time than it takes to get there on the New Haven line which takes two hours.