I was perusing some old Courant clips from UConn’s early trips to Madison Square Garden for a story later this week, and I learned that in 1951, when the Huskies played their first-ever NCAA Tournament game there, students groups got enough money to “charter” a special train to run from Willimantic to New York for the game.
Everything old is new again. By coincidence, MetroNorth is running a “special,” to use some old railroad lingo, from New Haven to Grand Central on Friday, leaving New Haven at 4:15, stopping at Bridgeport at 4:36 and arriving at GCT at 6 p.m. And cars will be added, as available, to other trains. ,,, For more details, here’s the release from the Governor’s office:
Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that MTA Metro-North Railroad will run a special, extra New Haven Line train on Friday, March 28, to accommodate UConn men’s basketball fans expected to travel to New York City for the NCAA tournament at Madison Square Garden (MSG).
The train will depart New Haven at 4:15 p.m., make a stop in Bridgeport at 4:36 p.m. and arrive in Grand Central Terminal (GCT) at 6 p.m. In addition, extra cars will be assigned, as available, to several trains departing New Haven between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., especially the 3:50 p.m. train from New Haven.
“Both UConn Huskies basketball teams are again taking the NCAA tournament by storm and gaining the nation’s attention. There will no doubt be a large contingent of Connecticut fans traveling to New York City to cheer for the men on Friday,” Governor Malloy said. “It’s time to turn MSG into a home game for our Huskies.”
UConn games at MSG have historically drawn big crowds from the Bridgeport and New Haven areas, and many of the fans take Metro-North to the games.
After the game, Metro-North will add cars to New Haven-bound trains, where possible, on trains departing GCT between 9:30 p.m. and 11:22 p.m.
Fans are urged to buy round trip tickets at their boarding station. There will be additional ticket sellers at New Haven on Friday afternoon to handle the expected crowds.
Ridership on Fridays is normally heavy, so UConn fans are urged to avoid taking the 4:21 p.m. departure from New Haven as it has no spare seating capacity and there is no way to add cars to that train.