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New Canaan station in New Canaan, CT.

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Metro North Railroad's New Canaan Branch is a short branch of their New Haven Line from a junction east of downtown Stamford, Connecticut north to New Canaan. It opened in 1868 as the New Canaan Railroad.


The New Canaan Railroad was chartered in May 1866 as a short branch of the New York and New Haven Railroad. It opened July 4, 1868 when a train ran from Stamford to New Canaan.[1] Within a year of the opening of operations a branch from the NY&NH main line south in Stamford to the pier at the Pine Island Steamboat Landing was opened to allow passengers and freight to switch to steamboats running on Long Island Sound.[2] Despite such attempts to increase revenue on January 1, 1879, the company went bankrupt, and it was reorganized in 1883 as the Stamford and New Canaan Railroad. The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad leased the line on October 1, 1884, and on October 1, 1890 it was merged into the NYNH&H.

The NYNH&H was merged into Penn Central in 1969. On January 1, 1971, the State of Connecticut leased operation of passenger service along the New Canaan Branch to Penn Central for $100,000 per year.[3] On April 10, 1972 Penn Central briefly suspended off-peak service on the branch to install high-level platforms at stations.[4] In 1983 the Metro-North Commuter Railroad took over the operation of trains on the branch.[5]

Like the New Haven mainline, the entire branch is electrified, although it is currently the only electrified branch. Peak service is provided by MNRR's Cosmopolitan EMU cars, usually with a two-pair or triplet-and-a-pair consist. Beginning in 2011, off-peak shuttle service is also provided by the new Kawasaki M8. Except for the storage tracks at New Canaan, this branch is single-tracked. Most trains operate as a shuttle between Stamford and New Canaan; a few peak trains run through to Grand Central Terminal on weekday mornings and return in the evening.

The film The Ice Storm features the New Canaan branch extensively, with M-2 cars (although dressed in Penn Central markings for the 1973 setting).

Proposed stationEdit

As of July 2007, a Stamford East Side station under consideration for this line or just past it on the New Haven line.[6]


On August 20, 1969 at about 8:20 p.m., a northbound commuter train with a three-man crew and about 60 to 80 passengers hit an empty southbound train carrying only five employees, killing four and injuring 40 just north of the Hoyt Street crossing in Darien. The lead cars of each train were almost completely destroyed. The National Transportation Safety Board report concluded that the cause was the northbound train's failure to stop at a meeting point as stated on train orders.[7]

On July 13, 1976, two trains collided, killing two and injuring 29.[8] In October 1976, the CDOT released their report which only blamed the engineer of the northbound train (Number 1994) for excessive speed. The engineer's union contended that there was a problem with the train brakes, that there was an automatic track lubricator which had been putting down excessive oil for two weeks before the incident and an insufficient signal system.[9] The National Transportation Safety Board released their final report on the incident on May 19, 1977 as Report Number RAR-77-04. That report concluded that the cause was "the failure of the engineer of train No. 1994 to perceive the train ahead and to apply the brakes at the earliest possible time". It also cited problems with the design of the signal system, design of the M2's exit doors and interior design of the trains.[10]

The New Canaan Branch was severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy on October 29–30, 2012. The line was blocked by fallen trees in 37 different locations; many of these trees also brought down the overhead catenary wires. Shuttle buses replaced all trains.[11] The railroad announced that regular service resumed on November 13.[12] This resumption was marred by slippery rails caused by rain and fallen leaves, to the extent that service had to be shut down again that afternoon to deploy Metro-North's rail-washing train. Train service resumed in time for the evening commute.[13]


Zone Station Miles (km)
from GCT
Connections / notes
Northeast Corridor / New Haven Line continue south
16 Stamford Template:MNR acc 33.0 (53.1) 1849 16px Amtrak: Acela Express, Northeast Regional, Vermonter
16px Metro-North: New Haven Line
16px Shore Line East (limited service)
Template:Bus icon CT Transit Stamford: 11, 12, 13, 21, 22, 23, 31, 32, 33, 34, 41, 42, 43, 44, I-BUS Express, Stamford Commuter Shuttle, Bulls Head, North, Route 1 East
Template:Bus icon Greyhound Lines
Template:Bus icon Peter Pan Bus Lines
Template:Bus icon UConn Stamford Shuttle
East Stamford Proposed station[6]
New Canaan Branch splits from the New Haven Line
31 Glenbrook 35.2 (56.6) 1868 Template:Bus icon CT Transit Stamford: 42
Springdale 36.9 (59.4) 1868 Template:Bus icon CT Transit Stamford: 34
Springdale Cemetery Closed by Penn Central
Woodway Closed by Penn Central[14]
Talmadge Hill 39.0 (62.8) 1868
New Canaan Template:MNR acc 41.2 (66.3) 1868[15]

See alsoEdit




  1. About the New Canaan Branch Line. Retrieved on 2015-03-04.
  2. Rosemary H. Burns. New Canaan Railroad History.
  3. Christopher T. Baer. PRR CHRONOLOGY 1971 (June 2005 Edition) (PDF). Retrieved on 2008-05-13.
  4. Christopher T. Baer. PRR CHRONOLOGY 1972 (June 2005 Edition) (PDF). Retrieved on 2008-05-13.
  5. Peter A. Cannito. On MTA Metro-North Railroad's 25th Anniversary. Archived from the original on 2008-04-24. Retrieved on 2008-05-13.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hughes, C.J.. "Living in Glenbrook, Conn.; The Little Town in the City", New York Times, July 8, 2007, p. RE9. Retrieved on 2011-07-29. “Anticipating growth, and aiming to alleviate crowding in Stamford’s main station, the city may add a second stop in Glenbrook, either on the New Haven line or the New Canaan spur, possibly near the Courtland Avenue overpass, where one existed until the 1950s, Mr. Lecar said.”
  8. "Two killed, 29 are hurt in New Canaan rail crash", The Day, New London, CT, July 14, 1976, pp. 1, 5. Retrieved on June 26, 2012.
  9. Knight, Michael. "Connecticut Transportation Unit Links Train Wreck to Speeding", New York Times, October 10, 1976. Retrieved on June 26, 2012.
  11. Cassidy, Martin B.. "New Canaan Line restoration work continues", Stamford Advocate, November 8, 2012. Retrieved on November 11, 2012.
  12. MTA Metro-North Railroad. Metro-North Railroad. Retrieved on November 14, 2012. “Regular train service resumes on the New Canaan Branch on Tuesday, November 13.”
  13. Cassidy, Martin B.. "Leaves foul morning rail commute", November 13, 2012. Retrieved on 16 November 2012.
  14. Woodway Railroad Station 1868.
  15. New Canaan Train Station. Retrieved on 2008-05-13.

Template:NYNH&H Template:Metro-North Template:Connecticut transit

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