Thursday, September 26, 2013

Latest Metro-North headache: Power failure

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Metro-North Railroad on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, scrambled to provide rudimentary service on its New Haven Line, the nation's busiest regional passenger railroad line which was crippled Wednesday by a severed power line.

Limited bus and rail service was put in effect Thursday morning "until further notice," with some offering dire predictions of a service disruption lasting up to three weeks. A Con Edison feeder that supplies traction power to the New Haven Line was accidentally severed Wednesday.

"Metro-North is working with [regional utility] Con Edison to try to establish alternative power sources to serve the New Haven Line," the railroad said. "Con Ed crews are working around the clock to make repairs to a feeder cable that failed earlier [Wednesday]. Another feeder normally providing service to the New Haven Line was out on scheduled repairs to accommodate upgrades required by Metro-North."

Metro-North and parent entity Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) acknowledged the makeshift plan at best would accommodate only one-third of daily ridership. Some New Haven Line riders were able to access Metro-North's Harlem Line, which was unaffected by the power failure and which was cross-honoring New Haven Line tickets.

Metro-North urged customers to seek such alternate service or work from home, if possible, and to listen for announcements at any station. Bus service is being provided on the Waterbury Branch in Connecticut, one of three branches served off the New Haven Line. Limited shuttle train service will protect the Danbury Branch and the New Canaan Branch.

For the peak hours, within Connecticut, service between New Haven and Stamford train service will be provided every 20-to-30 minutes. Connections with limited diesel train service in Stamford will allow access to Harlem-125th Street and Grand Central Terminal, both in Manhattan. Limited local train service every 20-to-30 minutes will link from Stamford an Rye, N.Y., connecting with express bus service to White Plains Station for Harlem Line train service to Grand Central .

Within New York State during peak hours, limited local train service every 20-to-30 minutes will run from Harrison through New Rochelle stations and operating directly to Fordham, Harlem-125th Street, and Grand Central Terminal. Bus Service will run from Pelham and Mount Vernon East to Mount Vernon West for Harlem Line train service.

From Grand Central Terminal, limited diesel train service will be provided every 30-to-40 minutes, making all local stops to Stamford, with hourly connections at Stamford for train service to New Haven, Metro-North said.

Metro-North has been plagued by various and seemingly random incidents in 2013 that have disrupted normal service patterns, including a sideswipe collision on the New Haven Line and a derailment of a freight train on its Hudson Line in the Bronx.