Westbrook (Shore Line East)

Ah, the second to last Shore Line East entry! (well, if you exclude shared Amtrak stations, anyways) So, if Clinton is about as good as it gets, Madison has poor service, and Guilford being decrepit, where would Westbrook fall? Well, simply put it: a bit “middle of nowhere”-feeling.

An M8….from above!

Alrighty, so after getting off the train, two people needing accessibility boarded, and they’d be the last people I see for the next hour. In essence, this station is a copy-paste of Clinton. However, unlike Clinton, there’s pretty much nothing around, nor is there transit-oriented anything. Sure, you could walk to the town center, but I get the feeling the road wasn’t made for walkability. Plus, most locals probably use it as a park & ride.

The elevator to change sides

Now, the elevators work and aren’t sketchy like in Guilford, at least! Parking is plenty, however noone was parked on the westbound parking lot because of how the schedule is set up (where trains run on the eastbound track heading westbound during the morning commute). Plus, the platforms are clean and don’t have any taped-off benches, which is always nice.

The platform

Weirdly enough, every now and again I’d hear “TRAIN APPROACHING, PLEASE REMAIN BEHIND YELLOW LINE” with the signs flashing it, but no trains would approach. Maybe there was freight traffic upstream tripping it? Oh yeah, did I mention the sounds of a concrete plant? Yeah, there’s a concrete plant and is probably why I have a headache writing this.

And towards New London!
The sign
Parking o’plenty!
The Regional on the wrong track?!
The (largely unused) western parking lot
POV: you’re waiting for the train

The good: Well, it does the job of being a park & ride, and quite well at that. Plus, it’s close to the town center. And plus, it’s not decrepit like Guilford is!

The bad: It’s a bit far from the edges of what’s officially considered Westbrook’s “town center”. Plus, it’s also a ways away from Westbrook Outlets, which could’ve been transit-oriented had this station been built about a mile east. Also, 9 Town doesn’t deviate in here but is accessed at the street.

Nearby points of interest: Well, you can always walk to Westbrook Outlets and the town center!

Transit connections: Shore Line East, 9 Town (641)

Overall, it’s not as bad as Guilford. However, I feel like geography and stations downstream are what hurts this station the most if anything. If it were closer to the Outlets, I’d probably give it a 7. But since that’s not the case, it hurts the station a little.

Rating: 6.5/10

Guilford (Shore Line East)

Man, did I think Madison was the worst Shore Line East station. I mean, I still stand by that statement largely due to the fact it’s single-tracked. But, that didn’t prepare me for the nightmare of Guilford. So, how bad is it? Well, let’s find out.

to Guilford Station
There’s the signage!

So, getting off the train, the station already looks decrepit. Like, why?! Why are there benches taped off? Furthermore, why does the stairs look decrepit as hell?! The elevators? Nah, I don’t trust them. The worst part of this is that the station was rebuilt in 2005. Yeah, this thing is newer than South Attleboro and it’s already looking like its falling apart.

The obligatory track pic
WHY?!
Bike racks

I’ll at least give it credit: it has bike racks and a dropoff/pickup area on the westbound side. Furthermore, it’s triple-tracked so parked Shore Line East trains aren’t obstructing the mainline.

Uhhhh
Westbound from the bridge
And eastbound!
The majority of the parking – it looks like a high-ish ridership station
A train coming in from New Haven
OH NO.
The bridge from outside
An Acela!
The other side – with the old red dot matrix sign
Another shot
UHHHHHHHHHHHH

The good: It’s in the middle of a residential neighborhood! Largely, that means (I presume) a decent amount of ridership is (probably) local. Plus, it’s decently used, given how full the parking lot is.

The bad: Why is this place falling apart?! Just, why?! It’s too new for that. Also, why is the ceiling in the indoor stair area netted?

Transit connections: Shore Line East

Nearby points of interest: The town of Guilford. Doesn’t seem too interesting, though.

Overall, it could be a decent station. It’s hindered greatly by the fact it’s just so decrepit-looking. C’mon ConnDOT, repair this place!

Rating: 5.5/10

TRAIN APPROACHING
P

New Haven Green (CTtransit)

So, it’s come to this. I’m reviewing a literal park that happens to be a bus station, and CTtransit’s New Haven hub. Well, whatever.

Not very green!

So, I took the 201 into New Haven from Branford, and after having a convo with an old lady who used to visit RI regularly in her youth, we arrived. Now, this was the Green? Well, it’s part of the New Haven divison’s hub, so I guess so. But, to get to the Green itself, you have to walk a couple of blocks northbound. So, I walk the few blocks, passing a Dunkin’, and finally make it.

Yup. Still in New England.
Welcome to New Haven

So, it’s a park. That’s it. A park, with bus berths shoehorned in around its perimeter. They aren’t even lettered or numbered distinctly for ease of wayfinding, and even if they are, why the hell is one of them a couple of blocks south at the intersection of Church and George Streets?! At least there’s a CTtransit ticket and information office here.

Some berths far away
And close by!
The ticket office

The good: Well, it’s in the heart of downtown New Haven. Plus, it’s got a ticket office that, unlike Kennedy Plaza’s, is actually open and servicable.

The bad: No, no, NO! You literally have TWO train stations nearby! Why couldn’t the hub be at either instead?! Furthermore, why aren’t the berths labelled for wayfinding? Actually, why isn’t there much in the way of wayfinding, at all?! Only reason I was even able to find the Union Station shuttle was because it stood out clearly from all the other buses, but if you’re unfamiliar with the area, how the heck are you supposed to easily find out which stop is which when all the berths are unlabelled?!

Nearby points of interest: Yale! You’re also quite close to State St. and Union Stations, along with Worcester- wait, it’s spelt “Wooster”? Oh shit, neat. Wooster Square, sorry. Gateway CC is also nearby. I’m not very familiar with downtown New Haven, though.

Transit connections: CTtransit (most New Haven routes)

Overall, just why? This should be a proper bus station, not a park with bus berths lining the primeter. Does this even make rush hour traffic awful???

Rating: 3/10 (though it seems like a 7.5/10 as a park!)

641 (Westbrook/Clinton/Madison)

Oh god. This one’s gonna be a bit of a long entry because this one took two hours to ride from end to end. Back to Old Saybrook Station, we go! Well, if you look at that, this route’s gotta be high ridership (relative to the others) since this is the only route to use standard city buses. Baby-sized at 29ft, sure, but still city buses.

The bus!
The inside. Never saw seats on the front wheels before.

My friend and I boarded the bus, and first thing I noticed were the seats were considerably more comfy vs. RIPTA’s 40ft buses (exc. the Proterras).

DRIVER: “Ya headin’ to the outlets?” (referring to Westbrook Outlets)
FRIEND, to me: “where we heading?”
ME: “Nah, Madison.”

The prescribed scheduling of the route was about an hour and 20 minutes, which seemed about right with us riding it. Now, onto the ride itself.

Onwards!

The journey begins by going down Route 1 towards Stop & Shop. There’s a request-only deviation immediately towards the Old Saybrook senior center, but nobody requested it (it was just my friend and I after all, and noone called dispatch ahead of time). As we went into Stop & Shop, a few people got on the bus and would stick around. From here, we pulled out back onto Route 1, passing by some houses, a plaza with Ocean State Job Lot?!, and even the local high school. Neat. Eventually we’d enter Westbrook and turn towards the train station. However, no deviation. We DID, however, deviate into Westbrook Outlets, and holy crap it took a LONG time.

Towards Stop & Shop #1!
WAL*MART
Staples!
Wetlands galore!
Some more.
Houses.
Kitchen and bath designers
A restaurant
An apartment complex
Welcome to Westbrook???
And another house!
A local church, I’d presume
The packie!
Westbrook Station tucked away
Into the outlets!

Holy moly, did the deviation take FOREVER!!! About 2 and a half miles into an outlet center….that someone actually got on and off at. Worth it, I guess. Wait, why are we deviating WITHIN THE DEVIATION?! HOLY SHIT, DEVIATION INCEPTION! Yeah, we deviated into the medical center that’s within the deviation. Double deviations, that’s a new one for this site. What’s next, is there gonna be a CTtransit bus route that deviates within a deviation, that happens to be within another deviation? Anyways, noone got on or off, and we were back to Route 1 in about 5 to 10 minutes. This had to have been among the worst deviations I’ve experienced, worse than the Warwick Mall on RIPTA.

Oh god
THANK. GOD.

So anyways, we were still on Route 1, with people getting on and off as we went down the road. And, to be real, it was kinda scenic going down the road along the coast in Westbrook. And, fortunately, there were no de- OH FOR FUCKS’S SAKE! Well, guess A. we’re in Clinton now and B. we’re deviating into a ShopRite. This is, what, deviation #5 now?

sbubby
More fields, this one by a marina!
Scenic!
idek what this was
Marina.
Where’s the Dairy King?
A motel! Hopefully without roaches!
Ooh!
YUP. WE DEVIATED INTO THIS.

Ugh. And this deviation felt like it dragged on forever. But, it wasn’t the worst offender. Soon enough, we deviated into ANOTHER STOP & SHOP!!!! This one was WORSE because we were in the plaza for seemingly forever! Maybe it was because someone (whom will not be making any further appearances) started bothering me at 2am on an already largely sleepless night, rendering me unable to sleep. I also shouldn’t be surprised given the fact they always came complaining to me about a number of people between two Discord servers over even the slightest of nonissues. Anyways, I digress. The driver even had the balls to yell at someone “Learn to drive!” Like, DAMN. Once again, we were back on Route 1, going towards Clinton. From here, we turned, not to deviate into Clinton Station, but rather to Clinton Crossing. While it too was long, it wasn’t as bad as Westbrook Outlets. And no, noone got on or off here.

An intersection.
OH FOR FUCKS SAKE!
A gazebo in Clinton, near the train station
Oh yeah, another 9 Town bus!
Near the train station
HONK. I swear the M8s sound like geese when the horn is used.
Over the interstate!
*tries falling asleep*
There’s a Big Y nearby though!
MONEY LAUNDERING?!
WHY IS THERE AN OCEAN STATE JOB LOT OUTSIDE THE OCEAN STATE?!

From here, it was essentially a straight shot. And no, we didn’t deviate into Hammonasset Park. We eventually made it to Madison, and a couple of turns later, we were at the train station, our destination. Thank GOD.

A river!
Not a clam shack, but a clam castle.
No deviation for you!
Marshlands!
More marshlands!
Welcome to Madison!
Wow, this is nice.
What’s essentially the end of the line, with a development nearby.

The good: It serves a lot! And, clearly, given by the choice to use a 29ft bus rather than a cutaway van, it’s probably the most-used 9 Town route. Furthermore, it’s a decent-ish alternative for local travel between Old Saybrook and Madison’s stations, with the route running close enough to Westbrook and Clinton’s stations. It also happens to be scenic, as is the rest of the Shoreline region. There’s also Saturday service! However…

The bad: It goes crazy with the deviations! We’re talking more than RIPTA’s 16 or 21. Probably worse than the 63 even. However, it doesn’t have the drunk snake factor like it or the 112 on the MBTA. As with the rest of 9 Town Transit, frequency is dogshit, however at least there’s two buses on this route instead of just one. Now, out of all the deviations, I would’ve expected an attempt to deviate into Westbrook, Clinton, and Madison’s stations, but guess not. Ah well, this isn’t a commuter-oriented route, after all, though it would’ve been nice to see them try to cater to commuters in each town. However, for what it is, it does the job alright.

Nearby points of interest: Well, you got a lot of shopping plazas! Plus, you have Hammonasset Park, the town centers for Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Madison, and Clinton.

Overall, it could be better, but it’s decent enough as a start. For one, I’d axe a couple of deviations (or make them request-only), or in lieu of that increase frequency to hourly (minimum), or if the resources exist, why not half-hourly? Also, out of all the places to deviate to, I’d at least add the various SLE stations other than Old Saybrook to the schedule. However, that’d muddy things up further.

Rating: 6/10

Clinton (Shore Line East)

Alrighty, another SLE station! Let’s get into it. Now, as a fun aside, this was the first time I’ve ridden the SLE – or anything commuter-oriented that isn’t the MBTA.

There it is, the station signage

Now, since this, Westbrook, Branford, and Guilford are essentially copy-pastes of the same general design, I’ll have to be a bit more nuanced and look at the general area as a whole, rather than just the immediate surroundings of the station.

See ya!
TRAIN APPROACHING. PLEASE REMAIN BEHIND THE YELLOW SAFETY STRIP.

In general, the station is alright. You’ve got a sheltered platform on both sides, with benches and wastebins. There’s also outdoor power outlets, should you need to plug something in while waiting for an M8 to pull in.

The stairs to the bridge on the other side
Would this count as TOD?

Now, I can confirm the elevators are clean, they speak, and …have a window? Weird choice, ConnDOT, weird choice. As for the pedestrian bridge between tracks 1 and 2, there’s power outlets on them (again, strange choice), and weirdly enough, buttons next to the stairs intended for accessibility in case of a fire, since the ends are designated places of refuge.

The elevators
Or the stairs? Your pick.
Very scenic!
Looking westbound from the bridge
And eastbound!
Back down!

Parking is aplenty, however it might be a bit much since half the lot was used on one side, with the other being pretty much untouched. Fortunately, due to being in the town center, most people in the area can just simply walk to the station. There’s also the CVS next to the station, and some form of TOD sprouting up across the street. Overall though, Clinton seems like a nice place.

Probably also TOD, but in the making
The station!
Hi there, Amtrak!
And this, I guess.

The good: It’s located in the town center! Furthermore, for (at least) half the town, who live in the town center, it’s walkable, and the parking is there for those who park & ride.

The bad: I mean, at the station itself, there’s no amenities. The biggest issue is the lack of any CTrail ticket vending machines. There’s no bathrooms either. But, c’mon, this ain’t Wickford Junction.

Nearby points of interest: Clinton’s a nice enough town, but there just isn’t much. You can get to Clinton Crossing via 9 Town’s route 641. There’s also a marina and Hammonasset Park (& beach!). As for railfanning potential, it’s definitely among the better spots on along the Shore Line East for that.

Transit connections: Shore Line East, 9 Town Transit (641, Clinton Trolley)

Overall, it’s a decent enough station to where it’s passable and gets the job done. There’s also some developments popping up around it, including a CVS, and it’s centrally located in Clinton’s town center, which helps with ridership. Certainly a lot better than Madison’s one-way only park & ride approach.

Rating: 7/10

Madison (Shore Line East)

Alrighty, a SLE-exclusive (SLExclusive?) station!

I don’t know the typeface, but it’s not Helvetica Bold.

Alrighty, so Madison isn’t much. You have a big parking lot, presumably intended for a park & ride. Needless to say, parking was plenty and the lot was about half-full. That’s normal. What isn’t normal, however, is the platform.

No second platform?!

Yup. It’s just a singular side platform. This means not every run of the SLE can stop here. So, how does scheduling work? Well, in the morning rush hour period, trains are ran only westbound, while all other times have eastbound-only trains stopping here.

Empty track looking towards Old Saybrook and New London

The station is pretty much fully sheltered, with a facade of a station building. However, it’s not a building, but there are benches and some partly enclosed space.

The “building”
And outside!

Fortunately, there are benches and wastebins, so there’s some amenities. However, is it enough to save the lack of a second platform? No.

A Regional flying through

The good: It’s a park & ride off the interstate! It’s also fairly close to Madison’s town center, which seems like a nice place.

The bad: NO, NO, NO! WHY IS THERE ONLY ONE PLATFORM?! The single platform not only greatly hinders the Shore Line East’s service here, but also the Regional and Acela heading either way! Just, AUGH! No, just no! If there was a platform, this station could’ve scraped by with a 6, but NO!

Nearby points of interest: Madison’s town center! I’m not too familiar with the area, but it seems like a pretty nice place to relax and unwind.

Transit connections: Shore Line East, 9 Town Transit (641)

Overall, why? I think it’s the least-used SLE station, given it’s the only one that’s still single platform. However, a “least used” station still deserves at least two platforms, one for each direction. And if it doesn’t have that, it’s kinda a bad station. Sorry, Madison, but you deserve better.

Rating: 4/10

A nearby lake!
The Acela, after delays started to clear up!
A Regional!
Is it me or do these things sound like geese honking?

643 (New London/Old Saybrook/CT Rte. 156/US Rte. 1)

Oh boy, a new RTA! I can’t wait to see how painful this turns out to be! Well, let’s look at 9 Town Transit’s route 643. Yeah, there aren’t gonna be many 9 Town entries since, well, they only have 6 routes total, one of which I already covered due to its seasonal nature.

The cutaway van

Anyways, remember the cutaway van picture from the Old Saybrook entry? Yeah, we’re riding that. So, the driver yells “Get on, whadda y’all waiting for?” as we’re at the dinky bus station, and we’re off to the races. Leaving the train station, we take a right down Route 1 to make our first deviation: Stop & Shop. Fortunately, this one is shared by the 641 and 642 as well. And yes, a few people got on. Despite the overall low ridership for the system (remember, this IS rural Connecticut), the bus was half full. From here, we pulled back out onto Rte. 1 and went over the Northeast Corridor, and going right to remain on Rte. 1. Then, holy crap, we’re express on the interstate! But, it wasn’t for long, as we got off at exit 70.

Onwards!
Deviation #1
Someone transferred from this cutaway van.
Northeast Corridor!
Into the woods
Express time!
Hehe, nice
Crossing the Connecticut River
And back on local streets!

Alrighty, moving along, it was mostly woodlands from here out, save for a deviation into Big Y. We proceeded down Route 156, which was kinda scenic in some areas. However, we also did pass through the main population center of Old Lyme. As we pressed on, people actually got on and off, much to my surprise. And, I’m not sure why, but there’s something relaxing about riding a bus (40ft city or a cutaway van) through what’s essentially the middle of nowhere. We also passed through some marshlands. We then continued down 4 Mile River Road, and took a right down Route 1 again. Now, there’s a request-only deviation here to the Old Lyme Senior Center, but we didn’t go that way since noone requested it. Nevertheless, we pressed on and eventually reached a shopping area in East Lyme. One right turn and a left later, and holy crap we’re express again!

Big Y?!
A small river
A historic-looking building
A whole lotta woodlands
We ain’t going back to OSB!
Scenic!
Very scenic!
This feels like HOAland
A side street to the ocean
Blurvision 3000
The Northeast Corridor again
Some more side streets
No express quite yet!
green
More HOAland
A small driveway
Even more blur
Fancy!
Sorry, but it ain’t a Dollar Tree.
An abandoned golf range
A park & ride before going express

So, we went express all the way down the interstate now. No, we didn’t cross the Thames. However, we were dumped into the streets of New London from here, where we went down Washington and State Streets, turning left onto Water Street at New London’s bus station.

Onwards!
idk what this is
Express through Waterford
Off the freeway!
Downtown New London!
Welcome to Union Station!

The good: It’s a link between Old Saybrook (and the other 9 Town routes!) to New London. It’s also pretty well-utilized, if the ridership of my trip was to go by. It also serves a number of rural communities. It’s also free through the end of November. Thanks, governor Lamont!

The bad: The scheduling is a bit lackluster. Now, maybe it’s manpower or funding, but 2 hours for a bus is…no, just no. Unfortunately, this is gonna be a common theme with 9 Town, and most rural transit authorities. It’s also weekday-only. They also don’t give this thing enough time, despite the fact it’s every 2 hours.

Nearby points of interest: New London and the connections to SEAT! There’s also the Stop & Shop and Big Y. But, being rural, there’s not much otherwise.

Overall, it’s a good route on paper, but the major killer is probably the scheduling and lack of resources. And, unfortunately, that’s also going to be a common theme among the rural transit authorities in not just Connecticut, but Massachusetts too. But, I have to give 9 Town credit for trying, at least.

Rating: 5/10

New London Union (Amtrak/SLE)

Alrighty, the eastern terminus of the Shore Line East! And, boy, does this one look nice!

The bus waiting area

So, the bus waiting area is a little ways up the street from the station, but it’s within view of the station, so it’s not far. It consists of a shelter and a bunch of benches. For it being SEAT’s New London hub, I’d expect more but whatever. Walking to the station, the platforms are in a similar configuration to what one would find on the Providence Line’s MBTA stations if anything, with a mini-high (though these are several cars long, not just one) and a low-level platform area on the other side of the street. Fortunately, the mini-highs are sheltered, but you better run to track 2 before the gates come down.

Down the tracks!
The high platform for track 2
The Amtrak sign

Moving into the waiting area in the station building, it’s quite nice. In a way, it feels like something you’d expect from a modern station, while retaining the vintage feel of the building. Here, Amtrak and Greyhound ticketing can be found, along with a cafe area. Apparently the womens’ bathroom smelled like fish, per a friend.

The waiting area
Track 1’s mini-high
This is nice.
The station building
Westbound from the low platform on track 2
Track 6’s decrepit platform, unused
Oh look, an M8!

The good: It’s centrally located in downtown New London! And, for a station serving a small town of about 25000, it’s pretty well used with similar ridership figures to Kingston/URI. Furthermore, most Shore Line East trains end here, along with many Regional trains stopping here. The station building itself is also pretty nice.

The bad: However, the bus area could be better. Yeah, it’s nice it’s sheltered, but I’d think a dedicated berth or three would be better. I mean, you have Greyhound and SEAT primarily. Also, the grade crossing. It’s a major “screw you” should you be running late. Shoulda kept the footbridge instead of demolishing it. And, why is track 6 unused and un-electrified? I think it’d be better to have the M8s lay over there instead of obstructing one of the two mainline tracks. Also, would countdown signs outside like at Kingston or Old Saybrook have been too much?

Nearby points of interest: Pretty much all of New London, plus SEAT’s reach. There’s also Block and Long Islands via the ferries.

Transit connections: Shore Line East, Northeast Regional, 9 Town Transit (643), SEAT (1, 2, 3, 12, 13, 14, 15, 108), Greyhound, prison (via Amtrak police)

Overall, I like this station as well. It managed to survive into the 21st century retaining its vintage feel, but with a modern refurb. The fact track 6 isn’t used is irritating though. It’s also a scenic place to railfan, if that’s your thing.

Rating: 7/10

HOLY FUCKING SHIT, THE VETERAN’S LIVERY!
There it is!
Oh yeah, it blocks the street.
Another Regional, wrong track
Oh, that’s why.

Old Saybrook (Amtrak/SLE)

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.

See ya!

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!!!!!

The bathrooms
This feels like it’s straight from the ’50s. I like it.
The Amtrak area of the building

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.

Model railroad!
More model goodness!

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…

For Fucks’ 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.

Down the stairs!
Across the bridge with Amtrak signage
Looking down the tracks
The platforms
Oh right, ConnDOT procured y’all recently.
Amtrak pulling in
The bridge
Another M8, from above this time
a 9 Town Transit van

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.

Rating: 8/10

HOLY FUCKING SHIT, KING TUT?!

Clinton Trolley

Alrighty. So, I’m not in a position to ride this any time soon due to the seasonal nature of the route and the fact getting into Connecticut is relatively cost-prohibitive for me, however I’ll try to write about it like it’s an On the Rails post. (by the way, do give Eliot’s On the Rails entries a read if you get the chance!)

Please forgive the geriatric Street View

So, the scheduling of the route is simple enough. It runs hourly, and the schedule page gives the times past the hour that the trolley stops at the various destinations along the loop. No layover time at Hammonasset Beach or the East End. However, pretty much every timepoint is served both ways. What’s the routing like? Let’s see.

Credits: Clinton (CT) Chamber of Commerce

So, the trolley begins at Hammonasset Park, goes up the access road, takes a right down U.S. Rte. 1, and then deviates. Fortunately, this deviation (on paper) seems useful since it serves a bunch of marinas and the town dock, where people would want to go. It deviates again to Clinton Station for a connection with the Shore Line East. From here, it goes down U.S. Route 1 towards Old Saybrook, serving a Stop & Shop and a ShopRite (with deviations for each?!), ending at “East End”. Yeah, idk what’s here but I think it bangs a u-ey and turns around.

End of the loop?????
Apparently a tourist trolley deviates here.
And into here, too.
This is a bit more sensible.

The good: Well, on paper, it looks like a good tourist loop for a small coastal town like Clinton. I’m not familiar with the area myself (stay tuned for the SLE station review!), however I’m gonna inevitably end up here a few times. The schedule is consistent with the bus running in a loop. And hey, unlike the rest of 9 Town Transit, the Clinton Trolley actually runs 7 days a week during the tourism season.

The bad: Well, the bus can easily fall behind in scheduling. Again, I’m not familiar with the area so I don’t know how bad road traffic can get on Route 1. Also, some of the deviations are headscratchers. Why does a tourist trolley need to deviate into two supermarkets? I’m sure some locals use it for that, but like, just have normal 40ft buses deviate in there instead. And, why is the website advertising it stuck in 2021?!

Nearby points of interest: Well, there’s Clinton’s town center and the park! I’m not familiar with the area but most people would likely want to go to those places. Plus, there’s the train station for railfans.

Overall, it’s a decent concept on paper. And I’ll have to go out of my way to ride it myself some time next season. That is, however, if it’s running next season. And, if I do get the chance to ride it, stay tuned for an entry on that.

Rating: 7/10