When Gov. Dannel Malloy gave his go-ahead and then asked for a huge chunk of unused federal money from Florida, the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Project really came to life.
The project will be a broad partnership between the state, Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration as well as the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.
The goal is to give those passengers working in or living near New Haven, Hartford and Springfield a high speed train that will be equal in speed and quality to any in the country.
Officials hope the project will be completed in its entirety by 2015. That would mean construction could start in Meriden in late 2012 or early 2013. A section from Meriden to Newington, passing through Berlin, has been designated as Phase One.
Mark Alexander, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation discussed changes to Berlin stations and others like Meriden's Amtrak station with Berlin Patch.
"We are going to complement the efforts of the Town of Berlin to make their railroad stop much improved from what it is now," Alexander said. "We have talked about high level platforms and up and over walkways which would be a significant improvement."
Phase One of the project will be done on a stretch from Meriden to Newington. In spots where there is one line, a second track will be added.
Unlike the shoreline rail route, this route will not be electrified according to Alexander.
"We are not planning on electrifying the route," he said. "It is not in the design plans at the present time and hasn't been looked at as a future project."
The new service would connect the existing Metro-North commuter rail and the Amtrak Acela high speed rail service to the New Haven Line to New York and on to the Northeast corridor to New London and Boston.
"There are a lot of things swirling around this project," Mahoney said. "There has been a lot of action and there will be more action depending on the funding for the project."
Alexander said that the project will have little impact on any of the homeowners who live near the rails.
"We may need to do some widening near and on bridges but we have no plan to increase the setbacks or intrude on homeowners who live near the lines," Alexander said. "If we're working on a bridge, there may be some traffic delays but since there is room for a second track in most of phase one, we expect the impact on residents to be very minimal."
For more information on the project, go to www.nhhsrail.com.