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Old 11-12-2010, 01:01 PM
24 posts, read 38,913 times
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My wife and I are planning to take the train in to New York for a weekend day next month. We live in West Hartford, and I'd like to know which train station - and which line - makes the most sense for getting to downtown Manhattan (presumably either Grand Central or Penn). Our goal is to get to the city as early as possible and leave, realistically, as late as possible. It seems like we have two realistic choices, since Metro North appears to be much cheaper than Amtrak - leave from Waterbury and switch trains in Bridgeport (~10 minute layover) or go direct from New Haven. My questions are (1) Is there a clear, obvious "better" choice of these two? and (2) Is one noticeably safer than the other, given our intended return around midnight on a Saturday?

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Old 11-12-2010, 01:09 PM
Location: New London County, CT
8,950 posts, read 9,574,683 times
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I'd go to New Haven. I make the trip from New Haven to Grand Central all the time. The New Haven train station is safe, and if you get there early, has ample parking. You will find much better service from New Haven than from Waterbury. Also it's a shorter trip. When you arrive at the New Haven station (if you're in the early AM) park in the garage adjacent to the station. Walk in to the station building and purchase round trip tickets from the machine. Then look up at the monitor and follow the signs to your track. Almost all Metro-North trains from New Haven end up in Manhattan, so it's hard to make a mistake. Getting on the main line in New Haven vs. Bridgeport will assure you a seat.

Believe it or not I have caught the train in Bridgeport only to have to stand all the way to Manhattan.

Have fun. More people should make the trip you are making more often!
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Old 11-12-2010, 01:19 PM
Location: W Hartford, CT
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Personally I'd stick with MetroNorth. I've been using them 10 years for numerous trips into the city and I've never had a problem. They're reliable and more moderately priced than Amtrak. Plus it takes you into beautiful Grand Central Station - that alone makes it worth using, whereas if you took Amtrak it drops you off in PennStation which IMO is kinda dingy and dumpy.

I would just drive down either to New Haven or Stamford, park the car and take the train right into GCC. From WH artford to New Haven you're looking at roughly a 45 minute drive. Stamford is an option is well and it has more frequent departures (at lower fees) but it's also a further drive. Both have plenty of parking, so that shouldn't be an issue, and both are direct routes without any layovers.

Last edited by MikefromCT; 11-12-2010 at 01:42 PM..
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Old 11-12-2010, 02:36 PM
Location: Connecticut
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There are more trains to New Haven than Waterbury. They start earlier and end later so it wold be the best for you. Jay
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:29 PM
Location: Connecticut
220 posts, read 434,465 times
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Originally Posted by mlassoff View Post
Getting on the main line in New Haven vs. Bridgeport will assure you a seat.
I second this - almost every time I take the train it is difficult for people getting on at Bridgeport and Fairfield to get seats, particularly seats that are together. While it's a longer journey from New Haven (meaning a longer time to sit down), I've never been disappointed once I see everyone standing later on in the ride.

You'll be fine with safety in New Haven as long as you're in the main garage. There is additional parking about three blocks away from the main station, but I wouldn't want to walk over there at midnight. You shouldn't have difficulty getting a spot in the main garage if you arrive early enough on the weekend.
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:59 PM
Location: Central, CT
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Ditto on the new haven recommendation. I've travelled from here many times and it's well lit and safe to park in the garage. The station is open 24 hours and has security/parking attendants. Also since most trains originate and end in New Haven you don't have to be too picky on your time coming back like you would if you parked at some of the smaller stations.
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Old 11-17-2010, 07:04 AM
Location: Middletown, CT
627 posts, read 802,484 times
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I always drive to the Fairfield station and get on, since the parking is free on nights and weekend and I've never felt unsafe there. It's a busy enough station that there are always a dozen or more people getting off. It's about 20 minutes less of a train ride than going all the way to New Haven.
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:36 AM
Location: Wethersfield, CT
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Ditto regarding New Haven. Just take the Metro North right into Manhattan.
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Old 05-18-2014, 06:02 AM
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What time does the lot fill up at the main garage in New Haven?
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Old 05-18-2014, 06:24 AM
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I too think that taking the Metro North from New Haven is the best option.
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