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.
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.