Second train station could be coming to Bridgeport

The idea of building a second train station in Bridgeport is gaining momentum, with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy supporting the use of state money for a consultant to work on the plan.

Malloy said the State Bond Commission will approve $2.75 million to hire a consultant to complete the engineering, design and environmental permitting to develop the new Barnum Train Station site on Bridgeport’s East Side.

The governor made the announcement at the former Remington Arms factory, a brownfield property, which will be the location of the city’s second train station. He said the project would uplift the neighborhood, boost economic development and promote transit-oriented development.

“Moving this project forward demonstrates our commitment to helping municipal partners and stakeholders make their communities more accessible, more walkable centers of cultural and economic activity,” Malloy said.

Helping the neighborhood

The train station would be built in one of Bridgeport’s poorer areas, and is viewed as a way to encourage investment on the East Side and nearby East End. According to a study, about two-thirds of the land within a quarter-mile radius of the train station site now is vacant.

There are some large employers nearby who could benefit from access to a rail station, such as Bridgeport Hospital and Lacey Manufacturing.

The city now has one train station, which is located downtown. In comparison, neighboring Fairfield has three stations — Fairfield (downtown), Southport and the newer Fairfield Metro (located on the Bridgeport border).

Could open in 2018

The proposed Barnum Train Station has an 18-month design phase, so Malloy said soil remediation could begin in the spring of 2016 and construction work in 2017, with a possible opening in the fall of 2018.

Malloy said investing in new stations, train cars and rail infrastructure will increase ridership on the New Haven Line, encourage public and private transit-oriented development, and revitalize downtown areas.

The State Bond Commission is scheduled to vote on the train station funding at its July 25 meeting.