New Haven residents now have a new, traffic-free way to get to Hartford.

The much-anticipated CTrail Hartford Line opened its regular service this week, giving residents an alternative route through central Connecticut and beyond. Stations along the Hartford line are in Springfield, Massachusetts, Windsor Locks, Windsor, Hartford, Berlin, Meriden, Wallingford and New Haven.

The trip between New Haven and Hartford takes roughly 45–55 minutes, and tickets cost $8, while tickets for the Hartford-Springfield trip cost $6. The full ride from the Elm City to Massachusetts costs $12.75. In addition, monthly, weekly and 10-ride tickets are available for daily commuters and frequent travelers.

“With service now from Springfield, Hartford, and many stops along the way, New Haven will be — as it should be — an easier-to-reach destination,” New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said in a statement to the News. “For all those who want to enroll or visit one of the colleges here, attend one of the many special events in the city, or enjoy New Haven’s fine dining and historic attractions, we’re now just a train ride away — and the State Street Station is literally just three blocks from the Green and the heart of downtown.”

The first train left New Haven’s station at 4:35 a.m. on Monday, and the first train out of Springfield departed just 48 minutes later. Seventeen weekday trains will run between New Haven and Hartford, while 12 will continue on to Springfield — a roughly 45-minute route.

On June 15, Harp, Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, State Sen. Martin Looney, D-New Haven, State Rep. Toni Walker, D-New Haven, and many other city officials joined Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and inaugural ride from New Haven to the state capital. Officials praised the rail service, lauding its positive effect on economic development, affordability and emissions-reducing impact, according to the New Haven Independent.

“There’s undoubtedly a sense of excitement about this long-overdue train service,” Malloy said in a written statement released on Monday morning. “We also recognize that a new rail line like this takes time to grow and become part of the everyday lives of residents of Central Connecticut … What we must remember is that this is not just about transit — it’s about building vibrant communities and continuing to make Connecticut a more attractive place to live, visit, and do business.”

Executive Director of DataHaven Mark Abraham ’04 told the News in October that 200,000 workers in the New Haven area live within a few miles of the new service. Of those workers, one in eight works in the Hartford area.

Abraham, who frequently makes the trip from New Haven to Hartford, said the train service “will be significantly more pleasant and cost-effective than driving, parking or taking the bus, especially at peak hours when trains run frequently.”

To celebrate the opening and test the tracks, CTrail is offering free rides over the weekend. Almost 22,000 people took advantage of the offer, filing onto trains on Saturday and Sunday.

Redeker joined the governor in praising the new line as an opportunity for residents to explore the state.

“People were making trips to numerous activities that were happening throughout the region this weekend, including the New Haven Arts and Ideas festival, the Hartford Yard Goats game, the block party in Hartford, or just taking the opportunity to take a round trip to experience the new service,” Redeker said.

From 1703 to 1875, Connecticut had two capitals: New Haven and Hartford. Hartford became Connecticut’s sole capital in 1875.