Visitors from a Distant World: A Commentary on the Stratford Train Station

Visitors from a distant world arrive at the Stratford train station with strange and unique customs that are not normally observed in Stratford.

Starting last week and continuing for the next two weeks the diesel engine and its fleet of cars which operate on the Waterbury branch will terminate its passengers on both sides of the Stratford train station.

The Waterbury branch starts in Waterbury, runs through Naugatuck, Beacon Falls, Seymour, Ansonia and the Derby-Shelton train stations before dropping their 100 to 200 people on the platform in Stratford.

There is track work in Bridgeport where the train normally drops passengers and terminates. The regular commuters who use the station in the morning, afternoon and evening are finding this new arraignment more than a little difficult to deal with.

As a Stratford commuter, for years, I made the regular trip from Stratford to Westport, or Greenwich, or Grand Central in the city for fun and profit. Now it's out of Stratford and into the Big Apple from time to time.

Commuters are an interesting group. In the morning, they like to stand in the same place on the platform, next to the same people and drink their coffee in quite peace. That's gone even before the influx of the "Waterbury people" (as Stratford's commuters call the influx) because of the bridge plates over the track closest to the platform.

Commuters like to pick a seat, sit alone or with a friend and read or listen to music in the morning. Now that the "Waterbury people" have arrived there is usually a pushing and shoving match to get a seat and comments that can not be repeated in a family-friendly blog post.

The platform and waiting area was really not set up for an influx of some many people in a short period of time.

The coffee shop and the small adjacent restrooms are overrun.

Stratford commuters are usually a civil group even in in the morning with "thank you" and "good day" as part of their upbringing. This manner has been lost on the new arrivals. The morning is bad, the afternoon rush is worse and the late evening arrivals from and to Waterbury are a real nightmare and a physical danger especially after the sun goes down.

The restroom in the coffee shop closes at 6 p.m., leaving the herd to charge for the only other restroom close, located in the Station House Wine Bar and Grill. The owner and the manager of the bar and grill are kind-hearted souls and apparently do not want to put up the sign "restaurant patrons only" for restroom use.

After dark it gets "weird" around both sides of the station with people standing in the driveways, checking out the parked cars, the patrons and the staff of the restaurant, both male and female.

The use of some local trees and bushes after say 10 p.m. serve as an outdoor bathroom complete with a special odor as they commuters wait for the arrival or departure of the Waterbury train.

There has also been the additional odor of burning grass, not the green lawn variety, which has come to the attention of the one and only security guard who wanted to call the local police, then realized he would be in the same position as General Armstrong Custer if he made the call.

There is also the air and noise pollution from the diesel engine as it sits on the tracks next to the restaurant. The smell and the noise from the engine can be heard and sensed as far away as the Camelot Apartments.

The police coverage is a toss-up between the locals and the underpaid, understaffed and overworked "real" normal police officers of the Metro-North Police Department who have miles and miles of tracks to cover, trains to guard, stations to checkout and the ever increasing number of "suspicious packages," lost cell phones, brief cases and other such problems to deal with.

It might be a good idea for the locals to put down the coffee cup and the donut and drive into the parking lots of the station from time to time especially after the sun goes down, so that no Stratford resident finds himself or herself in harms way.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Robert Chambers July 15, 2012 at 11:23 AM
So was this meant to be comedy? Your slam at the Stratford cops versus the "over worked underpaid MTA cops" was laughable. The MTA cops motto should be "Got a problem? Hold the train we will be there in an hour when we finish our nap" A more useless bunch you will never find.
David Durgy July 15, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Robert, his slams on the SPD is a recurring theme. With four blog posts the author posts both direct and indirect comments regarding our police force. The one where he doesn't, probably through luck, much like the blind squirrel who finds a nut, unwittingly validates some of the snarky comments made here.
Mike Reynolds July 15, 2012 at 10:47 PM
"afternoon and evening are finding this new arraignment more than a little difficult to deal with." It's arrangement not arraignment. "next to the same people and drink their coffee in quite peace" I believe you mean quiet peace?
Gary J. M. McTrottes July 16, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Please, the MTA police have a high arrest record, far better customer service training, live in a world where every suspicious package could be a bio weapon or good old C-4 with a couple of batteries, and usually have to deal with drunks, fair jumpers and the usual nut cases. Stratford P.D. could not handle the stress.
Gary J. M. McTrottes July 16, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Everone in this town lives in fear of getting on the wrong side of the local p.d.. I have covered several departments over the years and as far as I am concerned Stratford P.D. is another East Haven P.D. looking to happen. They have not got caught yet. My only response to any Stratford P.D. I meet. My, lawyer, a representative from the ACLU and a crew from Fox News., before I even identify myself, as is my right.Civil and Constitional right.
Robert Chambers July 16, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Oh please, the MTA haven't ever found anything more suspicious than someones lunchbox. Their job is NOT that hard. They deal occasionally with deadbeats that they have to escort off the train and if the deadbeat offers to pay for the ticket that they witness then they don't even arrest them. Occasionally there is a call about trespassers in the right of way and if they can be bothered to leave their air conditioned cars they might try and apprehend them if they are still in the area when the show up. Nobody is in fear of Stratford PD. Well I suppose the folks that come in to steal stuff or drive crazy, if you stand out you're going to get noticed. If you mind your own business and don't upset other people your chances of having an encounter with SPD is pretty minimal. I'm with you on the whole constitutional right though, if I ever get questioned on the street I'm not talking but it hasn't happened yet. All my interactions with SPD have been because I called (once) or traffic related things. If you want to look into stuff, look into town hall, find out where the money went.
David Durgy July 17, 2012 at 12:28 AM
I could write a whole blog post as to how CT train service services New York and not the residents of CT and Waterbury riders would understand what I mean. They have exactly one train that can get them into New York before 9 AM (And it is the one that does not stop and transfer in Stratford). Shelton/Derby is the same distance to Stratford as New Haven but New Haven's opportunities are many. There are three evening trains to Waterbury, 6:01, 8:30, and 10:42. If, and a big if, it arrives on time, the train to Stratford arrives at 5:55 which means you'd have to leave New York at 4:30 lest you get stuck waiting until the 8:30. How many people do you think can work that schedule? And how many people dare getting off the train, racing to the other side of the tracks to storm the bathrooms and get back in 6 minutes? Last I checked the trains have bathrooms. The same applies to the other two trains, there is about 5 minutes between the regular train to Stratford and the train to Waterbury. I take the 7:26 towards New Haven and wish I could see the 100 - 200 people that allegedly get off the 7:24 from Waterbury into Stratford but since the time this new schedule went into effect that train hasn't made into the station by the time mine leaves so I'm unfortunately going to have to take your word for it. And let's not forget under normal routine these people get on the train anyway in Bridgeport..
Dan July 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Get off the Stratford Police. They have some of the finest officers in the country. .
Robert Chambers July 17, 2012 at 01:10 PM
There's good and bad in every force, but the comparison between MTA PD and SPD was not even relevant to the story and just put in there for who knows what reason. That's why he got called out on it.
David Durgy July 18, 2012 at 12:40 AM
If it didn't run the risk of copyright infringement I would suggest the author is creating blog posts to compile a book called "50 Shades of Gray" because everything he posts is a fuzzy line between the facts as he sees them and all out fiction. He has bones to pick and if he can work them into a high school creative writing mid-term exam post he'll throw it against the wall and see what sticks. It should come as no surprise when you look at his bio that any job he's held relating to the media is preceded by the word former. He's called all commuters from Waterbury to Shelton neanderthals, trashed a police department, all while painting scenarios that just don't (didn't) happen. One can only wonder what his agenda is. But it's the internet so it must be true.
George E. Mulligan July 18, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Stratford/State Police & FBI? Fed/State Attorneys/Prosecutors + Judges Good & not good in every organization. Police chiefs & rank are political appointees. Do political appointees investigate patrons? Why do so many rank police have "PENSIONS" higher than BASE PAY & CASH OUTS sometimes exceed Base Pay? +Health Care. +Annuities. What happens if Stratford declares Chapter 9 or drops pay of police & fire to $ 7.25 like Scranton Mayor? Or repudiates Pensions? Note someone compared Stratford & East Haven. Both have Airports. My experience with Stratford Police: Majority are decent & respectful. RANK refuse to investigate allegations related to deaths. ("apparent" accidental, "apparent" natural & others) Refusal to investigate allegations related to "accidents" Falsified police reports. Special deals > some politically connected. Town Managers were formerly picked by Town Councils who rubber stamped ratification of Police Chief they alledgely told Town Managers to pick. They changed the Town Charter for a variety of reasons, including: * New FORM of Government > Creates deniability TO the MAYOR from the TOWN COMMITTEE > TOWN COUNCILS & BOARD of ED by direct POPULAR VOTE. > BURTURLA opined the PUBLIC'S RIGHT to INITIATIVE to CREATE PUBLIC REFERENDUM, thus a threat to political parties monopoly on the TREASURY is THREATENED. Based on experience the MAJORITY of COMMUTERS aren't Stratford Residents. I've NO comment on MTA.
Patricia Pell July 24, 2012 at 02:58 PM
You are joking .. right? No other comment for fear of reprisals.
Robert Chambers July 24, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Patricia (below) reprisals from whom? the MTA PD or SPD? To get reprisals from the MTA PD you'd actually have to see one. I take the train every day, the only MTA PD I see are sitting in their air conditioned room in Stamford train station.
Gary J. M. McTrottes July 25, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Dave; I left covering the cops because I wanted to. Could not deal with them any longer and civilians like you. Must have P.D. some where in the family.Took test and spent three months in training with Tiffany and Co. working as a mechanical engrave, jewelry and watch repair and cleaning. I have worked for Tiffany, Lux Bond and Green until my eyes started to fail me.
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