WATERBURY — Train service on the Waterbury Branch of Metro-North Railroad will be suspended for a month and replaced with buses while maintenance is performed on the 28-mile, single-track route.
Before that work begins, replacement of catenaries at the terminus of the branch in Bridgeport will mean a slightly longer trip for some riders.
The successive projects are part of scheduled maintenance this summer, when rail ridership is at its lowest level of the year.
Starting July 2, trains running to and from Waterbury will begin and end their trips at the Stratford train station, which is 4 miles east of the branch’s usual endpoint in Bridgeport. The only exceptions are the 5:57 a.m. and 2:48 p.m. trains out of Waterbury, which will follow their usual path.
That change will last until July 22. Then, from July 23 to Sept. 2, buses will replace trains on the Waterbury line while Metro-North Railroad and the state Department of Transportation perform maintenance on the track.
Of the 600 daily riders on the Waterbury line, about 25 percent travel to Bridgeport as their final destination, said Gene Colonese, the DOT’s rail administrator.
During the outage, instead of riding directly to Bridgeport, passengers will have to transfer to a New York City-bound train in Stratford. Trains will meet riders about five minutes after they arrive in Stratford. Also, riders will need to leave Bridgeport five minutes earlier than usual to connect at Stratford for the Waterbury Branch stations.
The average increase in travel time for people traveling to Bridgeport will be about six minutes, Colonese said. Riders whose destinations are west of Bridgeport will be able to pick up their usual connections in Stratford.
Service at the Bridgeport station will be severely limited for the 20-day period while catenaries are replaced and switches are repaired. During that time, two of the four tracks between Southport and Bridgeport will be out of service.
Once service to Bridgeport is restored July 23, coach buses will replace trains on the Waterbury line. Buses headed southbound will leave about 15 minutes earlier than the regularly scheduled train departure times. Northbound, buses will arrive about 15 minutes later than normal.
While train service is suspended, the DOT will repair four bridges: one in Seymour, over the Naugatuck River; one in Beacon Falls, over Spruce Brook; and two in Naugatuck, over Sugar Bush Brook and Hop Brook.
Meanwhile, Metro-North will perform track maintenance, including the installation of 5 miles of continuous welded rail south of Derby-Shelton, improvements to grade crossings and track surfacing for a smoother ride, said Marjorie Anders, spokeswoman for Metro-North Railroad.