Up next on the Amtrak to-do list, Old Saybrook! So, not only does Amtrak stop here, so does CTrail’s Shore Line East. Oh, it’s also a central hub for 9 Town Transit as well.
So getting off the platform, I immediately noticed that it is much shorter than Kingston’s (the point of comparison for this station, as Mystic’s was Westerly). But, it’s also high-level, which is nice. And, wouldn’t ya believe it, track 3 is actually useful here. That is, the Shore Line East uses it to dwell and to allow Amtrak to also stop (or express) past the station. Meanwhile, over to the east, track 3 is pretty much never used as the MBTA doesn’t go that far south. Now, moving on to the station building, it’s split into two essentially. One section is the Amtrak waiting area, meant for both Amtrak and Shore Line East (of which Amtrak operates under contract with ConnDOT) passengers. The other section is where I got my lunch, which brings us to…
DEVIATION SENSATION TIME!!!!!
Alrighty, today’s lunch consists of a meat lovers’ pizza from Pizza Works, located at Old Saybrook Station. The downstairs area is nothing to ring home about, however they do have a model railroad and a live feed of the tracks on the upper level. I got some Coke for a beverage, while my friend only got a water, nothing crazy. And boy, was the pizza good. In fact, I’m writing this at 10PM, 10 hours after eating most of the pizza, and I’m still not hungry. In terms of service and food quality, I’d give it a 5/5, however the prices can be a bit much for just one person.
And now back to our regularly scheduled program!
Moving on, in the parking lot, you can see a bus shelter. Wait, where’s the promised “transit hub” for 9 Town Transit? Well, it is the shelter. Yep. You mean to tell me 9 Town Transit’s central hub, is a dinky shelter?! Oh for God’s sake…
Now, there’s one last area I’ve yet to touch on. The bridge itself is much like Kingston’s, however unlike Kingston it has a display so you know how screwed you are, running for the Shore Line East train you’re about to miss. It does look nice, though, and the elevator doesn’t smell like urine.
The good: It’s a nice station! It’s got some charm and, unlike Kingston, has some transit-oriented development around it, namely Saybrook Junction Marketplace. This is also something Wickford should’ve had happened, but it just never came to be. Furthermore, you got commuter trains to New Haven from here, as well as most Northeast Regional trains. As for ridership, it’s on the lower side of things, however it’s still not bad vs. other Connecticut stations. Lastly, you also have 9 Town Transit, despite the bus shelter being all you get.
The bad: The biggest complaint is easily the platform length. Sure, it’s fine for the SLE, which uses 4 car trains (or 3+locomotive, before the M8s went into service), but for the Regional, it’s a bit of an issue given train lengths are oftentimes double or triple that. Furthermore, with it essentially being 9 Town Transit’s hub, it’s not exactly great at that, with the sole bus shelter.
Nearby points of interest: You have Saybrook Junction! The town center is to the south on Main St. as well. There’s also connections to places served by 9 Town Transit.
Transit connections: Northeast Regional, Shore Line East, River Valley Transit (640, 641, 642, 643, 644, Xtramile), CTtransit (921)
Overall, this isn’t a bad station. The platform length might be an issue, as with the shitty bus hub, but in terms of character, I like this station. It reminds me quite a bit of Kingston. However, I’d definitely lengthen the platform a bit.