Over the last two years, we’ve been watching a shoreline rail project develop.
This project, led by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), would involve the construction of a high-speed rail line for 79 miles along the state’s entire shoreline. Its primary aim is to shorten and straighten the coastal route.
If approved, the FRA’s plans could result in significant damage to historic, cultural and environmental resources across coastal Connecticut. Construction could cut block-wide swaths through neighborhoods in Riverside and Darien, blight significant view-sheds in Stamford and Norwalk, and intrude on historic areas in Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, New London (including the Hodges Square historic district currently being nominated to the National Register), and North Stonington.
We have paid special attention to a bypass and expanded right-of-way being proposed to run through historic communities in southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island. Without careful planning, this portion of the rail line could disrupt places like Old Lyme, which is rich in historic resources. One of those resources, the Florence Griswold Museum, is a National Historic Landmark and a key component of our Creative Places Survey.
Help us prevent threats to our historic resources.
Monitoring this situation takes resources.
The Connecticut Trust hired a temporary project manager to review the FRA’s plans. We held events all over the state (and in Rhode Island), attended by over a thousand people, to raise awareness about the FRA’s plans and to build grassroots support to protect historic resources in the path of the rail. We ensured that other groups, were well coordinated.
Thanks in part to our efforts, the FRA announced that it would take more time to review the specific route that would be taken by the rail line. Continued monitoring will be critical to protecting many historic shoreline properties.