CTTransit scheduled city buses shuttle passengers between Bradley Airport and the center of Hartford CT, and some Amtrak trains stop in nearby Windsor Locks. Many bus and limousine services can take you anywhere in New England.
Amtrak runs a dozen trains daily between New York City's Pennsylvania Station and Boston's South Station along the Connecticut shoreline via New Haven, Guilford, Old Saybrook, New London, Mystic, and Providence.
Amtrak and the Connecticut Department of Transportation cooperate on the Hartford Line, train service between New Haven CT, Hartford CT and Springfield MA, with connecting bus service via CTtransit's 30-Bradley Flyer bus from Hartford's Union Station to Bradley International Airport.
Also, a few Amtrak named-express trains such as The Vermonter travel through central Connecticut stopping at Hartford and Windsor Locks on their way north through Massachusetts along the inland route (via Hartford, Windsor Locks, and Springfield MA) to Vermont.
Riding the Rails
Stopovers are allowed at no extra charge on most trains, so if you buy a ticket from New York to Boston, the stops in New Haven, New London, and Mystic, or New Haven and Hartford, need cost no more.
It is usually possible to catch a train from New York in the morning, be in Mystic by noon, tour Mystic Seaport in the afternoon, catch another train around 5 pm, arrive in Providence by about 6 pm and Boston by 8 pm.
The trip from New York to Hartford on Northeast Regional trains takes less than 3 hours; to New Haven, about 1-1/2 hours; to New London, about 2-3/4 hours; to Mystic, about 3 hours. Times are faster—but station stops fewer and fares higher—on the sleek Acela Express trains.
Besides the Amtrak trains, there are frequent and cheaper commuter trains operated on the New Haven Line by Metro-North Railroad. These trains depart New York City's Grand Central Terminal for New Haven hourly from about 7 am until after midnight on weekdays, with even more frequent runs during rush hours. Service on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays is almost as frequent, with trains at least every 2 hours.
The trip by Metro-North to New Haven takes 1 hour and 40 minutes.
The big advantages of the Metro-North trains over Amtrak on the trip to New Haven are the convenience of Grand Central Terminal (midtown NYC); Amtrak uses Penn Station's Moynihan Train Hall) and the great frequency of trains. Tickets can be bought via the CTrail smartphone app.
Rail service east of New Haven is provided by Connecticut Commuter Rail's Shore Line East service connecting New Haven with New London via Branford, Guilford, Madison, Clinton, Westbrook and Old Saybrook. Tickets can be bought via the CTrail smartphone app. More...
From Hartford, Peter Pan has buses to Providence and Hyannis; Greyhound operates buses to Vermont, New Hampshire, Montréal, and Québec City. All the large bus lines have buses between Hartford and Boston.
In Hartford, the bus stations and the Amtrak railroad station are all within a block of one another in the center at Union Plaza (map). The Peter Pan/Greyhound terminal is at 1 Union Plaza, Hartford CT 06103-1490.
SEAT, the Southeast Area Transit system, operates regional buses connecting the southeastern Connecticut cities of New London, Groton, Niantic and Norwich with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribal reservations and their gambling casinos, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods.
Car and passenger ferries by the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company (tel 888-44-FERRY, that's 888-443-3779) connect Bridgeport CT with Port Jefferson on Long Island, NY.
Car and passenger ferries by Cross Sound Ferry connect New London CT with Orient Point at the northern tip of Long Island.
Fast passenger ferries by Block Island Expressconnect New London CT with Block Island RI.
Cross the Connecticut River happily with or without your car on this small ferry (April through November) sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
Cross the Connecticut River south of Hartford, with or without your car, on this historic ferry (April through November) sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.