Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty met with industry leaders Monday to discuss the future of freight jobs in Connecticut.
Esty, a Democrat from the 5th House District, met with representatives from the Massachusetts Railroad Association, Pan Am Southern, Providence and Worcester Railroad, CT Southern Railroad, RailAmerica, and New England Central Railroad to discuss how the freight rail industry in Connecticut could grow.
“We don’t have the big freight lines, but what we do have is called short line rail,” Esty says. “In fact, over the last couple of years, there has been a significant increase in freight rail. And that a lot of its outbound.”
There are 438 miles of freight railroad throughout the state. The Association of American Railroads says Connecticut employs about 120 freight rail employees and hundreds more for engineering and track inspection.
In 2015, Massachusetts finalized the $12 million purchase of 37 miles of rail from Pittsfield to the Connecticut border for passenger service. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation estimated it would cost $35 million in initial track improvements. Only freight service to Connecticut is currently available.