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Workers begin Danbury line dockyard project

The Danbury Branch dockyard before work began. (Harold Cobin)

NORWALK – The New Haven Line’s dockyard property along the Danbury Branch in South Norwalk has been cleared mostly of debris, vegetation and rusted tracks in preparation for its expansion.

Workers have been clearing the site for about a month, and much of it has now been graded flat and covered with ballast stone.

The yard is located to the south of Science Road and the city’s transfer station, and lies between Oyster Shell Park and the site of The SoNo Collection, the mall GGP is building on West Avenue.

Stacks of new rail ties were spotted at the yard Wednesday, as workers continued to load sections of old track into a dumpster from a scrap metal company.

When the upgrade is complete, the yard will be used to “turn” – meaning reverse the direction of – trains coming off the New Haven Line.

Metro-North often uses the Walk Bridge, which spans the Norwalk River, to turn trains. But it will unavailable for this purpose during a planned multi-year project to replace it with a new bridge.

Besides laying down new track sidings, an overhead wire catenary will be installed to enable electric-powered trains to reach the yard.

In August, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) announced it had awarded a $237 million contract for the Dockyard project as well as installation of a new four-track switching location on the New Haven Line approximately 1 1/2 miles east of Walk Bridge and adjacent to Norden Park.

These projects are independent of replacing the 121-year-old Walk Bridge.

The Danbury Branch dockyard before work began. (Harold Cobin)

Previously, ConnDOT spokesman Judd Everhart has explained that, after the new bridge has been constructed, the refurbished dockyard will provide operational improvements to the rail system by continuing to serve as a place to turn and start trains without blocking the mainline, as well as being a location to store trains.

2 comments

Mike Mushak January 13, 2018 at 8:52 am

Thanks for the update.

Improving our often gridlocked transportation system in southwest CT includes projects like this to improve train service, combined with more frequent bus service using smaller electric vehicles (sometimes called “trollies” or shuttles), and the expansion of cars on demand (Uber) and driver-less cars in the next decade.

Good planning for the future also includes building much-needed housing near transit stops, and expanding bike lanes and multi-use trails to encourage alternative healthier choices for commuting and recreation. We see increasing numbers of cyclists on our roads every year, by folks of all ages and abilities.

Rick January 13, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Thank you Harold this was a wake up call for the city and its dreamers. While those see what the pictures show now the work begins.

The digging and installing hydrants and Environmental equipment will be the no news to our city the RR will be planning on many things i imagine.

Most fuel spills are usually 7,000 gallons of diesel and sometimes chemicals one can only hope increasing numbers of residents will be protected, Yes you will hear dockyard yet it will no doubt a for hold CSX trains switching over or trains for the Danbury line.

Lets hope Norwalk isn’t just letting this happen now is the time to see who in Norwalk ensures standards those New apartments are real close to disaster waiting to happen.

We all needed a lesson on mass transit but the kind of lesson should come with common sense warnings. Each day hazardous trains pass thru Norwalk after a certain time for the sake of security they are not announced and why is that?

Planning for the future one needs to understand the dangers first whether it comes from the trains or city hall.

Lets see some fact on the next step in Norwalks continued push to be a transportation hub.

Most of the work is for Amtrak they get first choice on the rail, the need to side step trains in its way is paramount to Amtrak not Norwalk.

With a new stop planned for Bridgeport for Amtrak seems Norwalk hasn’t grown up enough or yet, a Amtrak stop at the mall would of been perfect planning for Norwalk but GGP understands the security problems a platform outside their mall creates so I see no real deal here in the makings for such a commuter community.

The last suggestion to work on gridlock was great didn’t they want to bypass Norwalk altogether? Like those plans were thrown away wishful thinking by the dreamers.

So what will Norwalk end up with?

Dock yard and rail yard they both hold trains electric and diesel and chemicals pass thru them.

food for thought

http://newstalkkgvo.com/pipeline-break-at-mrl-rail-yard-spills-7000-gallons-of-diesel-fuel-clean-up-continues/

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/10/23/gallons-diesel-fuel-spill-ayer-rail-yard/Gxn5TC3UsygSzrNP3ejnUL/story.html

No sense in talking air pollution the cyclists can hold their breathe , just like those special renters down wind,,

Now we hear its an electric yard yet most equipment on the rail has to be diesel how else would the repair crew get there with no power and when it comes to diesel you don’t shut a an engine down in the winter time so the air pollution and vibration from it all will be part of the package that was spelled out.

Next to an super fund site is another reason digging deep wont happen at the dockyard unless precautions are taken Oyster shell is capped not cleaned up.

Norwalk is special we get what no one else wants because we have smarties pushing agendas lacking any insight to the real world as it unfolds.

A recent article missed by most what companies like King are putting into the air those who live next door will be surprised what lies next door and whats coming. The very same people who probably skipped last election. trusting our urban planners who have their back will be the ultimate payback. A new apt or condo with a toxic view ,its something to laugh about.

Those visits to rail and dock yards by our city officials was smart so they could see first hand what was sold to the city

King industries must be a nice view for our new residents bet those units were shown at night during fog .

https://www.google.com/maps/place/King+Industries+Inc/@41.1086147,-73.4129556,410m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x3092867a578431ff!8m2!3d41.1091794!4d-73.4126055

Harold good thing you didnt take pictures of King Industries cops would of been at your door , they are top dogs in the chemical world right here in the middle of the city next to the new dock yard.

Im sorry I keep thinking driver-less cars and bike paths,,the new bikes with GPS are great you plug in where you want to go and the handle bar blinks the direction you need to go when going home when you come to an intersection, suppose a whole new set of DUI for bikers will be adopted for Norwalk where our second sport seems to drinking.

I think its good for Norwalk to be on the cutting edge of something.

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