Commuters on Metro-North Railroad are on track for another rough ride today after failure of a feeder power line in New York derailed much of the service yesterday.
Only about one-third the usual ridership on the nation's busiest commuter railroad is expected to be accommodated today -- and the foreseeable future -- until Con Edison repairs the power problem, according to Metro-North officials.
There will be more diesel-powered trains hauling commuters into New York City, west of Stamford, while a sharply reduced schedule of service is planned between Stamford and points east to New Haven.
A significant spike in congestion that typically clogs the region's major highways during the morning and evening rush is also expected as many rail commuters hit the road to find an alternative route to work.
To avoid chaos on both rail and road, state officials are urging commuters to consider car-pooling to work destinations, or to avoid what is likely to be troubled travels altogether by tele-commuting if possible.
Fairfielder Patrick Walsh, who has been commuting four years, was one of a few people waiting at the downtown Fairfield depot at 9 a.m.
"My strategy today was let the initial rush hour happen." Driving, he said, is not an option to get to work. "I turned on the news at 6 a.m. and 95 was already a mess."
Walsh said he will probably work a little later than usual and take a later train home.
"I worked from home yesterday. I showed up here not knowing what was going on and everyone on the platform was talking about it."
"You get used to it," Walsh said, referring to other Metro-North problems, but added the news that repairs to the power problem could take a couple of weeks "is very shocking."
Brendan Smyth of Fairfield, who has been a commuter for 17 years, had just returned from traveling and had no idea about the train problems. "I'm not sure what's going on ... It's both frustrating as well as somewhat expected."
He said his biggest concern and frustration with Metro-North is the railroad's aging fleet, but if the latest problems are caused by Con Edison, "I can separate the two."
Marjorie Penn, who works behind the counter at the coffee shop at the Fairfield Railroad Station, said the much smaller crowds on Thursday were "like a Saturday." But, she added, commuters are used to it. "They go with the flow."
Here are the latest details on what Metro-North plans for limited service today: http://bit.ly/S5Cxrf