Berlin station (Connecticut)
Berlin station after being destroyed in a fire in December 2016. The under-construction pedestrian bridge is at right.
|Location||51 Depot Road
|Line(s)||New Haven–Springfield Line|
|Platforms||1 side platform|
|Connections||CT Transit New Britain: 512|
|Rebuilt||1848; 1893; 1896; 1900
Spring 2017 (planned)
|Passengers (FY 2016)||16,332|
Berlin is a train station located in the Kensington neighborhood of Berlin, Connecticut. It is served by New Haven–Springfield Line and is served by Amtrak's Northeast Regional, New Haven–Springfield Shuttle, and Vermonter routes. High-level platforms connected by an overhead pedestrian bridge will open in 2017.
On December 21, 2016, the historic 1900-built station building was destroyed by a fire. A temporary platform is in use until the new station is completed.
Early stations and branches
The Hartford and New Haven Railroad (H&NH) opened from New Haven to Meriden in December 1838, and to Hartford in December 1839. The first ticket office was located about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) south of the modern location, possibly in a general store, with a freight house nearby. It was replaced by a wooden station at the modern site in 1848, possibly after the 1839 station burned.
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. It connected with the mainline at a wye, with the station inside the wye. 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. In 1870, all three lines connecting at Berlin became part of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad.
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. 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. The walls and foundation of the later station were largely intact and used to build a new station, which opened in December 1900.
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 Electrification was extended to Bristol in 1898, but withdrawn on July 7, 1906 when the City of New Britain obtained a court order against the electrification, which had caused a number of deaths. However, trolley service powered by overhead wires successfully operated over the Middletown branch from 1906 to the 1920s.
In the 1920s, a southbound station building (possibly a freight house) was constructed on the west side of the tracks. Passenger service ended on the Middletown branch around 1932, and on the branch to New Britain around 1935. The southbound building burned in the 1970s. Amtrak took over intercity service on the mainline on May 1, 1971.
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. 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.
The Hartford Line commuter rail service will begin stopping in early 2018. Two high-level platforms connected by a pedestrian bridge are being installed for the service, with construction starting in 2014. The historic station building, including the ticket office, was 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.
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. 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. The demolition was delayed due to insurance concerns in January 2017.
The rebuilt Meriden, Berlin, and Wallingford stations are expected to be completed in May 2017, although the stations will serve only existing Amtrak service until January 2018 when Hartford Line service begins.
- "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2016, State of Connecticut" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2016.
- Karr, Ronald Dale (1995). The Rail Lines of Southern New England. Branch Line Press. pp. 74–78. ISBN 0942147022.
- Belletzkie, Bob. "Stations: B-BO". Tyler City Station. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
- 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.
- "Berlin, CT (BER)". Great American Stations. Amtrak.
- Stacom, Dan (December 4, 2015). "Springfield-To-New Haven Commuter Rail Cost Increases, Service Begins In 2018". Hartford Courant. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
- "Temporary Train Boarding Platform to Open April 25 in Berlin". Information Center: Construction Updates. Connecticut Department of Transportation. April 22, 2016. Archived from the original on April 24, 2016.
- Dempsey, Christine; Byron, Ken (December 21, 2016). "Large Fire Destroys Old Amtrak Station In Berlin". Hartford Courant. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
- Leukhardt, Bill (December 30, 2016). "State Rules 116-Year-Old Berlin Train Station Will Have To Be Demolished". Hartford Courant. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
- Backus, Lisa (January 10, 2017). "Insurance concerns delay demolition of Berlin train station". New Britain Herald. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
- Lipiner, Bryan (August 23, 2016). "New train stations in Wallingford and Meriden may open in spring". Meriden Record-Journal. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
- "Construction Progresses at Hartford Line Stations" (PDF). NEW HAVEN - HARTFORD - SPRINGFIELD RAIL PROGRAM NEWSLETTER. Connecticut Department of Transportation: 2. Fall 2016.
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