Cutting Edge Machine Helping to Keep Commuter Rail Project on Schedule

Oct 11, 2016

Governor Dannel Malloy said Tuesday the construction of the Hartford Commuter Rail Line is on track to be completed by January 2018, thanks in part to a state-of-the-art machine.

The 250-ton Track Construction Machine, or TCM, uses a conveyor belt system to uniformly lay concrete railroad ties on the rail bed, while simultaneously threading the rails onto the ties.

The cutting edge machine can assemble up to 1,000 feet of track per hour, work that usually takes months to complete.

The best part: the process does not require the closure of adjacent Amtrak rail lines.

TCM is currently laying nearly nine miles of track between North Haven and Meriden, with plans to bring it back in 2107 to add another 10 miles of track between Meriden and Newington. 

The new track is part of the 62 mile New Haven-Hartford-Springfield passenger rail line project, which will increase the number of daily round trip trains to Hartford from six to 17 when it's completed in early 2018. Proponents of the project, including Malloy, have said the expanded service and new stations will increase ridership and increase economic development.

"A modernized transportation system brings so many benefits to an area," Malloy said. "High among them are the economic advantages that attract businesses and grows jobs. However, for too many decades, our state lacked the forward-thinking vision to make these improvements. We are committed to building a best-in-class transportation system for Connecticut’s residents, and the Hartford Line is one piece of this vision that will move us forward."

There are only a handful of TCMs in use in the U.S., but the machinery has been used for large track construction projects worldwide.

Rail Machine Installs Track from NHHS Rail on Vimeo.