Communities across southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island breathed a sigh of relief last month when the Federal Railroad Administration withdrew plans to build the controversial Old Saybrook to Kenyon Bypass, but a new study for alternatives is underway that could allow the bypass to return.
The cast of thousands who successfully convinced the Federal Railroad Administration there must be better ways to fix the Northeast Corridor than running track through some of this region’s most historic and beautiful areas should give themselves a round of applause. Then it is time to get right back to work and Act II. This is just intermission.
“I don’t think it’s over by any means because the Record of Decision sets a benchmark that requires a transit time between New York City and Boston of 2 hours and 45 minutes, roughly an hour quicker than what it is right now,” he said. “The plan no longer proposes any solutions, instead it sets up the New Haven to Providence Capacity Planning Study, which requires the state-level departments of transportation in Connecticut and Rhode Island to take on a larger role, and to find a way to meet this mandated time savings.
We can’t really think of any reason to mention these ‘dropped’ routes specifically in the Record of Decision, other than to guide later planning, and to assure that plans for the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass, and Quadtracking between Branford and Guilford are reintroduced into decision making at a later date.
“Just in Charlestown, we had 19 pieces of open space that would have been affected, and we counted upwards of almost 100 pieces of private property,” said Filippi. “The rerouting in northern Charlestown was going to save about one minute of time and cost over a billion dollars to do. And it just didn’t make sense.” Video included
Westerly Sun: Federal Railroad Administration drops plans for the Saybrook-to-Kenyon high-speed rail bypass
“We now place our faith in RIDOT and CTDOT to work with the FRA on a good-faith process to evaluate the New Haven to Providence corridor and impacts of the various route alternatives.”
Greg Stroud, “And let me say that the entire Northeast Corridor owes a debt of gratitude to the leadership and work, late in coming, but remarkably effective, from the Charlestown Citizens Alliance, and the Charlestown government. It has been a model effort on their part as a local government. Let us all learn from them.”
Now, the new plan is calling for a studies in both Connecticut and Rhode Island to examine ways to improve service on this stretch. The FRA said those studies will be conducted by the states in conjunction with the FRA and other “stakeholders,” but the agency did not offer specifics on funding, costs or a timeframe.
Bowing to local pressure, the Federal Railroad Administration has dropped plans for a controversial new rail line from Old Saybrook CT to Richmond RI from its ambitious project to overhaul the railroad system in the Northeast corridor.
The official waiting period after the release of the Federal Railroad Administrations’s (FRA) Final Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement ended on January 31. The FRA could have published a Record of Decision (ROD) as early as Feburary 1st, but they have received hundreds of comments, including comments from other federal agencies, tribes, and state agencies, […]
This beautiful essay by Ken Payne makes the case that keeping our curvy train tracks and the natural and historic landscapes the train passes through are vital to Rhode Island’s future. It’s a must read for anyone interested, involved, or impacted by the “Old Saybrook to Kenyon Bypass”. You can learn more about Ken Payne […]
Hamden, CT – (May 4) – With a final Record of Decision on NEC Future expected as soon as late May, the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation is reaching out to the National Passenger Rail Corporation (Amtrak) as the agency prepares to inherit the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) controversial plan to build new high-speed rail […]
With just weeks remaining before the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) completes a five-year NEC Future planning process, finalizing a ‘once-in-a-generation’ blueprint for rail travel and investment along the Northeast Corridor, advocates of historic, cultural and environmental resources in Connecticut are responding warily to recent statements from Connecticut DOT and FRA officials.
Greg Stroud is a quiet, thoughtful academic with limited experience in civic engagement, but he transformed into a relentless community organizer and grass-roots lobbyist after learning of a proposal from Washington, D.C., aimed at boosting the speed and capacities of trains in the Northeast Corridor. That proposal from the Federal Railroad Administration included construction of […]
CHARLESTOWN AGRICULTURAL PRESERVATION COMMISSION April 13,2017 To Whom it May Concern, At the April 12, 2017 meeting of the Charlestown Agricultural Preservation Commission. all of the members opposed the proposed Federal Railway Administration NEC “Old Saybrook to Kenyon Bypass” which would destroy several farms and open space lands, which are supposedly protected in perpetuity. Those […]
A rebellion that began in Old Lyme and has spread along coastal Connecticut is pressing the federal government to make big changes in an ambitious plan to bring high-speed rail to the Northeast, and to turn the proposal into merely “aspirational” recommendations.
Their consensus was that the people along the Old Saybrook to Kenyon ByPass have to remain vigilant in their opposition and continue to document their positions in both town and state plans. Those currently in positions of power will not be those who make decisions in the future, and regardless of the current decisions, the communities must create documentation that protects historic buildings, open space, farms, and tribal lands. The struggle continues.
When: Thursday, March 30 at 7PM
Where: Kettle Pond Visitor Center, 50 Bend Rd., Charlestown
What: Status Update and Discussion on “Old Saybrook to Kenyon Bypass”
Our guest speaker is Gregory Stroud, Ph.D., Director of Special Projects at the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. Greg is also the founder of the grassroots advocacy group on High-Speed Rail, SECoast.
March 10, 2017 08:21AM By Catherine Hewitt Sun staff writer CHARLESTOWN — Members of local municipal staffs, conservation and governmental groups, and the Narragansett Indian Tribe met with Federal Railroad Administration representatives at the Town Hall here Thursday to explain the impacts of the proposed Old Saybrook to Kenyon bypass. The Amtrak bypass would reroute, […]
Links below are to letters of opposition written by organizations or officials to the Federal Railroad Administration. We don’t yet have links to all documents. If we’ve missed anything, please let us know. The opposition to the Old Saybrook to Kenyon Bypass in the NEC Future Final EIS is truly impressive and now even includes […]
The following post was published by SECoast and is shared with us here by the Executive Director of SECoast Gregory Stroud. Greg has summed up all the new developments in the “Old Saybrook to Kenyon Bypass” of the last few days and put them in one convenient post. There has been a flurry of news […]
The Northeast Corridor Commission promotes mutual cooperation and planning and advises Congress on Corridor policy. The Commission is composed of one member from each of the NEC states and the District of Columbia; four members from Amtrak; and five members from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The NEC Commission letter is nearly identical to Governor Malloy’s letter. “Eliminate any specific “representative alternative alignments” along the NEC. Portions of the corridor which require evaluation of alternative investments and alignments to address capacity, speed, or which have other vulnerabilities should be identified without proposing specific options.”
Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy is urging the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to table consideration of any new alignment of tracks on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) through Connecticut and instead focus its investments – which he says are long overdue – on maintaining the corridor in a “state of good repair.”
March 7, 2017 07:54AM By Catherine Hewitt Sun staff writer As legislators and residents of Rhode Island and Connecticut await the Record of Decision on the Northeast Corridor high-speed rail project, opposition to the Old Saybrook to Kenyon bypass continues to grow. The Federal Railroad Admnistration, which is proposing the project, has not specified a […]
The portion of the project along the coast of Connecticut and Rhode Island would be devastating to historic communities … In addition, we wish to emphasize that, in our view, the proposed project fails to comply with Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act.
In sum, we urge the Federal Railroad Administration to remove from its Tier 1 Record of Decision the portions of the project in Connecticut and Rhode Island that involve bypasses on new alignment and other draconian impacts on historic resources. Instead, the agency should conduct more detailed reviews to develop feasible and prudent alternatives that would avoid and minimize harm to these resources.
The Rhode Island Senate Committee on Finance had a presentation and question and answer session with Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Officials on February 28. That video is now available. The interview with FRA officials took place via a webinar format. The FRA officials were not on site in the Senate Committee chamber. The presentation from […]
US Senator Richard Blumenthal and Connecticut US Representative Courtney write that the Old Saybrook to Kenyon Bypass “would cause massive disturbance to the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of residents who now live in the proposed route’s path. It would decimate the unique charm and historic character of several centuries-old towns like Old Lyme. It would disrupt major job centers and tourist attractions like the aquarium and historic seaport in Mystic,”
Senator Murphy called on the Federal Railroad Administration on Tuesday to heed the concerns of Connecticut residents before finalizing a plan for the NEC FUTURE project along the Northeast Corridor. Murphy also expressed serious concerns with the FRA’s proposed new rail line in southeastern Connecticut, which does not adequately address the historical and environmental worries of residents who live along the proposed route.
The “Old Saybrook to Kenyon Bypass” portion of the proposal lies within or runs immediately adjacent to the focus area for the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge, where land acquisition authority has been granted to conserve important fish and wildlife resources.
The proposal could have substantial effects on managing these species over time, including impacts to habitat connectivity, direct habitat loss, reduction in habitat quality adjacent to the rail lines, and the direct reduction in available habitat.
The State supports the Preferred Alternative except for the Old Saybrook to Kenyon Bypass portion in Southern Rhode Island. This Bypass contains a conceptual 6-mile re-alignment of tracks which poses tremendous environmental and land use impacts to unique resources that are largely irreplaceable.