Old Lyme residents speak out over proposed high-speed railway

- FILE - Amtrak Train (WTNH)

OLD LYME, Conn. (WTNH) — Backlash against a plan to run a high-speed railroad through a shoreline city. Nearly 1,000 Old Lyme residents showed up Wednesday to express their anger, frustration, shock and dismay after finding out the railroad wants to cut a swath through their town and lay down tracks for a brand new bypass.

Bonnie Reemsnyder, the town’s First Selectman has been taking calls for weeks from angry residence.

“If they cut right through the center of our community it will decimate us commercially and our historic district,” said Reemsnyder.

The plan to put rail lines right through Old Lyme has galvanized the town. There’s a lot of anger and frustration. Joe Fulton says it’s one thing to buy a house next to a railroad track, you know what to expect. But another thing, to come out here and buy a house in the woods and then have the federal government put in a rail line.

“We have lived here for 44 years, and this is the first time anything like this has ever happened. It is going to go within a quarter-mile of our house,” said Fulton.

Congressman Joe Courtney says it is surprising they want to build a brand-new rail line along the shoreline, especially since it has such an astronomical price tag.

“We are talking hundreds of billions of dollars and for an agency like Amtrak, which limps along from one year to the next,” said Courtney.

He says to improve the rails Amtrak is better off repairing the current infrastructure, like the drawbridge over the Connecticut River, which is more than 100 years old.

“It is a $660 million price tag and it has been sitting in the queue for years. Let’s focus on trying to help upgrade that kind of infrastructure which will increase speed and improve the quality of service,” said Courtney.

Courtney says a government will make their decision early this fall and finalize the rail line, but they could be decades away from actually building it.

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