Metro-North RR back on track after Irene forced suspension
Published 9:25 am, Tuesday, August 30, 2011
In a scene repeated Monday at the stations along Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line, the usually bustling Stamford station was nearly vacant Monday except for two ticket vendors, a trickle of travelers hoping New York-bound service would resume and several people using the station as a rendezvous point.
A friend gave her a ride Sunday from New Haven to Stamford.
"It has basically been an inconvenience for me today and I missed work," Sodi said. "They understood basically, because there wasn't subway service in the city."
Danielle Alexandra, 17, of Stamford, came to the station to meet a friend before going to the beach in Greenwich.
"We'll probably go watch the waves on the beach," Alexandra said.
Metro-North resumed regular weekday service on the New Haven Line for Tuesday's rush hour, though the New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury branch lines' service will remain suspended as crews continue to restore power and signal wires torn down by Tropical Storm Irene.
Bus service will not be provided on the branch lines, Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said.
After suspending service Saturday in advance of Tropical Storm Irene, the railroad just before the afternoon rush hour Monday restored a Sunday schedule along the storm-battered New Haven and Hudson lines, excluding the branch lines.
Crews from the railroad's Maintenance of Way division have worked to clear hundreds of trees that fell along the 70-mile New Haven Line, but additional damaged trees in loose, water-logged soil have continued to fall, further delaying getting the branch lines back on track, Metro-North President Howard Permut said Monday.
"The goal is to get the railroad back in service section by section in a way that will ensure safe operation," Permut said. "We still have trees falling down on all three lines on Monday." One factor that contributed to this were periodic high winds until 9 p.m. Sunday evening, he said.
"We've been continuing to assess our available equipment and repairs to know what we will be able to operate," Permut said. "Once you get into Westchester, Fairfield and New Haven counties there are trees all over the place."
Over the weekend, Connecticut's two-dozen new M8s, along with hundreds of other railcars were moved to Grand Central.
"We protected a lot of the equipment from any damage from the elements," Permut said.
On Monday morning, hard-hatted Metro-North repair crews continued to use chain saws and other equipment to clear away fallen trees and branches from the New Haven Line.
Metro-North service on the Harlem Line remains suspended north of the Croton-Harmon station due to flooding that left more northern stretches of the railway submerged.
"In some areas where the water hasn't receded we haven't even been able to begin to assess the damage," Permut said Monday.
Because of the widespread power outage and lack of rail service, some residents who'd stayed home from work visited coffee shops and restaurants Monday attempting to squeeze in some work by laptop.
"I did some work and I'm probably going to go get some lunch," said Charles Scheering, a North Stamford resident who was at the Starbucks in downtown Stamford.