West Haven (Metro-North station)
The nearly complete station in May 2013
|Address||Sawmill Road between Hood Terrace and Railroad Avenue|
|Platforms||2 side platforms|
|Opened||June 1, 2013 (planned)|
West Haven is an under construction commuter rail station on the Metro-North Railroad New Haven Line, located in West Haven, Connecticut. The station is being built on Sawmill Road between Hood Terrace and Railroad Avenue, in the Elm Street-Wagner Place neighborhood. West Haven will have a parking capacity of 660 spaces in on-site lots, with the possibility of 300-400 more in a parking garage in a refurbished industrial building north of the station if warranted by future demand. The station will be fully handicapped accessible.
After a decade of studies, planning, and controversy over the station site, ground was broken for the station on November 10, 2010. The $80 million project includes the station - with two 12-car platforms, a glass station building, and an overhead pedestrian bridge - as well as the restoration of the formerly abandoned fourth mainline track through the station. It will be only the second new station on the line in a century, after Fairfield Metro in 2011. West Haven station was planned to open on June 1, 2013, but has not opened yet.
In the late 1990s, Metro-North began considering adding a station in either West Haven or neighboring Orange to fill the ten-mile gap between the Milford and New Haven stations - the longest such gap on the New Haven mainline. Both town governments were supportive of a station, which was then to cost $25–30 million. Support in West Haven was largely rallied by the West Haven Train Station Committee Inc., which circulated a petition eventually signed by 7600 residents. Support in Orange was both local by the Orange Railroad Committee and also aided by several employers, including Bayer Pharmaceuticals, whose employees were likely to use the station. In fall 2001, a site study and a regional transportation committee recommended the Orange site (at Marsh Hill Road) based on cost, time considerations, and highway access. However, in December 2001, the South Central Council of Governments voted instead to support the West Haven site, citing the economic needs of West Haven versus comparatively wealthy Orange.
Orange's first selectman originally planned to appeal the decision, and controversy continued. The sustained bitter animosity between the two towns was cited in a study of bargaining between municipalities. The Final Environmental Impact Statement, issued in June 2007, considered both station sites, noting that "The recommendation of the West Haven site does not preclude the construction of a commuter railroad station at the Orange site in the future, as the demand for additional parking and service warrants, and as additional funding becomes available." In 2011 - even after ground was broken at West Haven - state lawmakers considered a funding deal to build an Orange station.
Design and funding
In February 2005, the City of West Haven released a proposal for the West Haven station that modified the state's current plan, with less land taking adjacent to the station and a pedestrian bridge across Saw Mill Road to a 629-space garage in the Armonstrong North building. The city's proposal also included transit-oriented development, with a 325-unit residential development on the Armstrong South property and mixed-use buildings along Hood Terrace and Railroad Avenue. On June 19, 2006, West Haven Mayor John M. Picard and U.S. Representative Rosa L. DeLauro announced that DeLauro had secured $1.2 million in federal funding for the project, which brought the federal funding commitment as of that date to $3.2 million. The Final Environmental Impact Statement, released in June 2007, estimated the capital cost for the station at $66.56 million including land acquisitions, with a total of 1,074 parking spaces split between lots and a garage. Ridership was estimated at 1,620 daily riders at opening and 1,955 by 2025, with about 20% new transit users rather than diverted from New Haven or Milford stations.
Design was one-third complete and construction planned for fall 2009 when initial renderings were released in June 2008, with costs estimated at $100 million. The State Bond Commission authorized a $103 million bond for station construction in 2009.
About twelves miles of Track 4 - the southbound outside track - was taken out of service for passenger trains in the mid-1980s to reduce maintenance costs. The track was removed entirely between Devon and Woodmont, and reduced to freight use only between Woodmont and New Haven. The West Haven station project involves restoration of the New Haven Line's original configuration of 4 electrified main tracks in the five-mile stretch from New Haven to Woodmont, leaving Woodmont to Devon as the only remaining triple-track section of the New Haven Line. The fourth track will allow local Metro-North trains to stay exclusively on the outer tracks, leaving the inner tracks for passing Amtrak service. The track restoration and re-electrification represents $33.68 million of the project cost. The restoration will use new material, while the old rails and ties will be reconditioned for use elsewhere in the state on freight-only and museum trackage.
Groundbreaking was held on November 10, 2010, with the presence of outgoing Governor Jodi Rell. At the time, the station was expected to cost $118 million and open by the end of 2012. After a year of site preparation and foundation work, construction began in earnest in early 2012. In April 2012, the state announced that the station was coming in under budget, with a cost of $80 million plus $25 million in previous property acquisition and design work. The majority of station and building construction was completed by the end of 2012, with primarily electrical, interior finishing, and paving work remaining. In March 2013, as the station neared completion, some of the original station advocates began pushing to use money left over from construction to build a parking garage at the site.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, a station stop was located in West Haven between Washington and Campbell Avenues, about 0.7 miles (1.1 km) east of the modern station. The first West Haven station, at Washington Avenue, opened along with the rest of the New York and New Haven Railroad in December 1848. The wood-framed building, located on the south (eastbound) side of the tracks, was moved west halfway to Campbell Avenue in 1895 when the line was quadruple-tracked. At that time, a second station was built on the westbound side across from the older station. The first station burned down on February 26, 1914, and was replaced by a new building by the middle of 1915. As trains grew longer and heavier, closely spaced village stops were retired in favor of more widely spaced downtown stations. West Haven closed in the mid-1920s, though the eastbound station building was not demolished until the 1940s. The station was briefly proposed to reopen in the 1950s following the construction of a Veterans Affairs hospital nearby.
A short-lived station was also located at Front Avenue in West Haven on the New Haven and Derby Railroad. The station was at street level, with stairs to the platform on the elevated tracks. The station opened in 1871 and was closed by 1914.
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- "Final State Environmental Impact Evaluation for the New Railroad Station at City of West Haven or Town of Orange". Connecticut Department of Transportation. June 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- Hladky, Gregory B. (9 August 2011). "Do We Really Need That Orange Train Station?". CT.com. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- "A Proposal for Action: West Haven Train Station and Transit-Oriented Development". City of West Haven. February 2005. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- "Train station funding announced". City of West Haven. Archived from the original on 8 October 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- "DeLauro, West Haven Officials Announce $1.2 Million For Construction of the West Haven Train Station" (Press release). Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro. June 19, 2006. Archived from the original on 11 November 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- Smith, Abbe (9 June 2008). "W. Haven station design shows grand transit hub". New Haven Register. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- Misur, Susan (April 16, 2012). "West Haven train station work on track; may come in under budget". New Haven Register. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- Misur, Susan (April 19, 2012). "West Haven train station project recycles track". New Haven Reguster. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- Misur, Susan (9 December 2012). "$80 million West Haven train station takes shape". New Haven Register. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- Misur, Susan (26 March 2013). "Support builds for garage at West Haven train station". New Haven Register. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- Belletzkie, Bob. "CT Passenger Stations, W-WE". TylerCityStation. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
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