Amtrak Cancels Trains to Replace Bridge Span

NEW LONDON, Conn. — For four days next month, Amtrak will cancel some of its trains in order to replace the movable span of the 90-year-old Thames River Bridge, located between Groton and New London, Conn.

Rail service will be affected between New Haven and Boston on June 14-17 when Amtrak will install a new vertical lift span to replace the movable bascule portion of the bridge. That will mark the final stage of a multi-year, $83 million project designed to improve the reliability of the bridge, reduce the chance of operational failures and minimize train delays.

“The aged drawbridge will be replaced by a more efficient vertical lift bridge that rises between two towers,” said Frank Vacca, Amtrak Chief Engineer. “Once this is complete, rail passengers will be able to depend on a reliably operating lift span for the better part of this century.”

Over the years, more and more train travelers have crossed the bridge, and the number of passengers taking Amtrak trains over the bridge rose from 1.4 million in 2002 to 2.2 million in 2007. Today, the bridge handles 36 passenger trains and two freight trains every weekday.

During the four-day “track outage,” Amtrak will also perform a maintenance “blitz” between Boston and New Haven, Conn., that will provide passengers with a smoother ride and significantly improve the reliability of the railroad, officials said.