Berlin station (Connecticut)

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Temporary platform at Berlin station, July 2016.JPG
Temporary platform opened in April 2016
Location 51 Depot Road
Berlin, Connecticut
Coordinates 41°38′08″N 72°45′55″W / 41.6356°N 72.7653°W / 41.6356; -72.7653Coordinates: 41°38′08″N 72°45′55″W / 41.6356°N 72.7653°W / 41.6356; -72.7653
Line(s) New Haven–Springfield Line
Platforms 2 side platforms
Tracks 2
Connections Bus transport CT Transit New Britain: 512
Parking 172 spaces
220 after construction is fully complete in Fall 2018
Bicycle facilities Yes
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Station code BER
Opened December 1839
Rebuilt 1848; 1893; 1896; 1900
Early May 2018 (planned)
Passengers (FY 2017) 14,007[1]Decrease 14.2%
Preceding station   BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak   Following station
New Haven–Springfield Shuttle
toward Springfield
Northeast Regional
Hartford Line
toward Springfield
toward Springfield

Berlin is a train station located in the Kensington neighborhood of Berlin, Connecticut. It on the New Haven–Springfield Line and is served by Amtrak's Northeast Regional and New Haven–Springfield Shuttle in addition to the Hartford Line commuter rail. High-level platforms connected by an overhead pedestrian bridge opened at the Hartford Line service launch.

On December 21, 2016, the historic 1900-built station building was destroyed by a fire.


Early stations and branches[edit]

The 1848-built station at an unknown date

The Hartford and New Haven Railroad (H&NH) opened from New Haven to Meriden in December 1838, and to Hartford in December 1839.[2] The first ticket office was located about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) south of the modern location, possibly in a general store.[3][4] It was replaced by a wooden station at the modern site in 1848,[3][4] after the original first depot was vacated and sold to Daniel C. Spencer sometime between 1840 and 1855, which he used a steam wheel shop until March 1, 1871. Spencer sold the property the "steam wheel shop" was on to William Daniels who stated in the deed that "said shop is to be removed from the premises at the convenience of the grantor".[5]

Middletown residents, unhappy at the H&HN skipping their town, constructed the Middletown Railroad to Berlin in 1849; it was taken over by the H&NH in 1850.[2] It connected with the mainline at a wye, with the station inside the wye.[3] The New Britain and Middletown Railroad as built from Berlin to New Britain in 1865; the H&NH operated it from the beginning and purchased it in 1868.[2] In 1870, all three lines connecting at Berlin became part of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad.[2]

Brick stations[edit]

An Amtrak train at Berlin station in 1980

The New Haven replaced the 1848 station with a standard yellow brick design, similar to those extant at South Norwalk and Torrington, opening around August 24, 1893 on the east side of the mainline tracks. The two branch lines were extended on a diamond crossing across the mainline around this time.[3][4] The 1893-built station burned in 1896 and was replaced by a nearly identical building in red brick, which in turn burned on June 27, 1900.[3][4] The walls and foundation of the later station were largely intact and used to build a new station, which opened in December 1900.[3][6]

On May 27, 1897, third rail electric service began from Hartford and Berlin to New Britain. Electrification was extended to Bristol in 1898, but withdrawn on July 7, 1906 when the City of New Britain obtained a court order against the electrification, which had caused a number of deaths.[3] However, trolley service powered by overhead wires successfully operated over the Middletown branch from 1906 to the 1920s.[2]

In the 1920s, a southbound station building (possibly a freight house) was constructed on the west side of the tracks.[3][4] Passenger service ended on the Middletown branch around 1932, and on the branch to New Britain around 1935.[2] The southbound building burned in the 1970s.[4] Amtrak took over intercity service on the mainline on May 1, 1971.[2]

With passenger service at low levels for the last part of the century, the station fell into disrepair. The roof and gutters built into the walls leaked, causing freeze-thaw damage to the brick structure. Many of the original electrical, plumbing, and heating systems were also in ill repair. Despite this, the station was among the best-preserved 19th-century stations in the state, with much of its original interior still intact.[6] The town received $2.12 million in state and federal grants in 2005 to fund restoration. Engineering assessment of the station began in 2008, with final design completed in 2012.[6]

New station[edit]

Southbound platform and pedestrian bridge under construction in December 2015

The Hartford Line commuter rail service began stopping in Berlin on June 16, 2018.[7] Two high-level platforms connected by a pedestrian bridge were installed for the service; construction started in 2014.[6] The historic station building, including the ticket office, closed on March 4, 2016 for renovations. On April 25, 2016, a temporary platform was opened south of the station building so that the northbound high-level platform could be constructed on the site of the former low-level platform.[8]

Historic Berlin station building after December 2016 fire

On December 21, 2016, the 1900-built station building was destroyed by an early-morning fire. The under-construction platforms and bridge were not significantly harmed, but Amtrak briefly stopped service to the station before resuming with a speed restriction.[9][10] On December 29, state investigators ruled that the station remains were too damaged to repair. Instead, historically significant items like radiators and stone lintels will be salvaged and the station remains demolished.[10] The demolition was delayed due to insurance concerns in January 2017.[11]

The rebuilt Berlin station is expected to open in early May 2018,[12] following Meriden and Wallingford in late 2017, although the stations served only existing Amtrak service until June 16, 2018, when Hartford Line service began.[13]

Amtrak's Vermonter stopped serving the Berlin and Wallingford stations on June 9, 2018 due to the Hartford Line.[14]

Station layout[edit]

Berlin has two high-level side platforms serving both tracks.

M Mezzanine Crossover between platforms
Platform level
Side platform, doors will open on the left or right Handicapped/disabled access
Track 1 New Haven–Springfield Shuttle toward New Haven (Meriden) or Springfield (Hartford)
Northeast Regional toward Northern Virginia (Meriden) or Springfield (Meriden)
Vermonter does not stop here →
Track 2 New Haven–Springfield Shuttle toward New Haven (Meriden) or Springfield (Hartford)
Northeast Regional toward Northern Virginia (Meriden) or Springfield (Hartford)
Vermonter does not stop here →
Side platform, doors will open on the left or right Handicapped/disabled access
G Street level Exit/entrance, parking, connection to CT Transit New Britain


  1. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2017, State of Connecticut" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Karr, Ronald Dale (1995). The Rail Lines of Southern New England. Branch Line Press. pp. 74–78. ISBN 0942147022. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Belletzkie, Bob. "Stations: B-BO". Tyler City Station. Retrieved December 21, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Roy, John H. Jr. (2007). A Field Guide to Southern New England Railroad Depots and Freight Houses. Branch Line Press. pp. 33–34. ISBN 9780942147087. 
  5. ^ Berlin, Index to Land Records, Grantor, A to Z, 1785 - 1850, Pg. 626, (line 20), Vol.21,Pgs. 14 - 15 MTG. Also, Vol.21, Pgs. 14 - 15
  6. ^ a b c d "Berlin, CT (BER)". Great American Stations. Amtrak. 
  7. ^ Porter, Mikaela; Owens, David (June 17, 2018). "Thousands Take A Free Ride On Hartford Line's Inaugural Run". Retrieved June 17, 2018. 
  8. ^ "Information Center: Archived Construction Updates". New Haven–Hartford–Springfield Rail Program. Connecticut Department of Transportation. April 22, 2016. 
  9. ^ Dempsey, Christine; Byron, Ken (December 21, 2016). "Large Fire Destroys Old Amtrak Station In Berlin". Hartford Courant. Retrieved December 21, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Leukhardt, Bill (December 30, 2016). "State Rules 116-Year-Old Berlin Train Station Will Have To Be Demolished". Hartford Courant. Retrieved December 30, 2016. 
  11. ^ Backus, Lisa (January 10, 2017). "Insurance concerns delay demolition of Berlin train station". New Britain Herald. Retrieved January 11, 2017. 
  12. ^ Leukhardt, Bill (March 31, 2018). "New Berlin Train Station To Open Soon". Courant Community. Retrieved April 9, 2018. 
  13. ^ "From the Commissioner" (PDF). New Haven-Hartford Springfield Rail Program Newsletter. Connecticut Department of Transportation. Summer 2017. p. 1. 
  14. ^ "Vermonter Timetable" (PDF). Amtrak. June 9, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2018. 

External links[edit]