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Metro-North Cuts Service on the New Haven Line - NYTimes


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With half of their fleet on the New Haven line

knocked out by weather-related repairs, Metro- North Railroad officials said Tuesday that they could no longer run regular weekday service

on that branch for the indefinite future. In an unusual move, the railroad will create an

alternative timetable that greatly reduces the

number of trains running on weekdays. The schedule, to take effect on Monday, better

reflects the railroad’s current capacity on the New Haven line. The revised schedule — offering more frequent service than on weekends but less than a

typical weekday — is expected to stay in effect indefinitely, at least until engineers can

muddle through a steep backlog of repairs on

the railroad’s aging, exhausted fleet. “We are not able to run a stable operation on the New Haven Line,” said Howard Permut, the railroad’s president. “The trains are overcrowded, and the trains are so unreliable

coming into the Bronx that they are now

delaying Harlem and Hudson trains.” For weeks, the line’s 67,000 riders, who hail from commuter enclaves like Greenwich,

Conn., and Larchmont, N.Y., have had to

squeeze into rail cars with barely enough room

to stand. Many trains are too packed to board

at all. Delays and cancellations are

commonplace, and confused crowds have mobbed Grand Central Terminal at rush hour,

trying to decipher train schedules that seem to

have run amok. “This is a significant step which we almost never do,” Mr. Permut said of the new schedule, which is still being drawn up. “We’ve never had this amount of cars out of service.” Nearly half of all New Haven line trains have

been relegated to repair yards for problems

like frozen brakes, broken motors and

malfunctioning doors, and Mr. Permut

described the railroad’s facilities as “inadequate” to handle the needed maintenance. Most of the trains were built in the 1970s, and

their electronic systems have proved ill

equipped to handle the storms and icy weather

affecting the region. High-tech replacement

cars have been delayed for years because of

manufacturing problems and a lack of financial support from the Connecticut government,

which covers part of the costs for the line. The new timetable will not affect schedules on

the Harlem and Hudson lines. Many riders on Metro-North, the top-

performing commuter railroad in the country,

are unaccustomed to such indignities, and the

problems seem to have left passengers jaded.

Last week, a YouTube video surfaced of a train from New Canaan rollicking along the elevated

tracks in Harlem with a door wide open.

Nonchalant passengers, standing inches away

from the void, simply laughed. Chris Schoenfeld, a commuter from Greenwich

who runs StationStops, a blog about Metro- North, described a chaotic scene that he

witnessed at Grand Central last week. At the

peak of the evening rush, the station’s billboard-size information screens went blank,

and railroad staffers “had no idea whatsoever what was going on,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Confused riders crowded schedule display screens waiting for something to appear,” he continued. On Monday, Mr. Schoenfeld squeezed onto a

8:27 a.m. local from Cos Cob, Conn., to New

York. He described the ride as “the most crowded train I have ever ridden on Metro-

North.” “We shoehorned people on and off for four stops,” Mr. Schoenfeld said, “but by the time we got to New Rochelle, it was impossible to

fit anyone else.



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I wonder if Connecticut has changed their mind about paying for a new fleet of cars to replace the M-2 MUs. When the MTA was ordering the new cars that are running on the Hudson and Harlem lines, they approached Connecticut for their matching funds for new cars for the New Haven line, and Connecticut balked. The MTA replied that they wouldn't buy new cars for the line unless Connecticut coughed up their share of the funds to pay for them. In the meantime, the MTA has bought some cars for the line, but they are certainly painted blue for the MTA, and NOT red for the State of Connecticut.

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C3's would not be something Metro-North would even think of considering using as a temporary solution to the New Haven Line's problems. CDOT only owns four GE Genesis P32ACDM's, and Metro-North owns about twenty. However, some of those still have to serve Poughkepsie and Wassiac on the Hudson and Harlem Lines. In addition, the cab signals are different on the C3's and Metro-North would have to train crews on the fly to use C3 cars on the New Haven Line. Plus, even if you ran them as shuttles, you would still have the same number of diesel locomotives and the M2/4/6 situation still wouldn't be any better. Then there is also the problem that they are too tall to fit into Grand Central, which is the ultimate destination for the majority of New Haven Line commuters.

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That's also why several Wassaic trains were canceled.


This is what I think is going on:


-Waterbury Branch bused to free up diesel equipment.

-Wassaic through trains cancelled (except 1) to free up dual-mode equipment, use the Waterbury diesel sets.

-Dual-mode equipment used to run New Haven Line service

-New Canaan Branch using diesels to free up electrics.


If this new schedule is to take effect Monday, I wonder why it isn't online yet...

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Not to get off topic. Why can't the (MTA)/Metro North and CDOT askes Amtrak to cross honor tickets/fares on their their regional trains (it never happen for acela) going to NY Penn Station? i.e New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford and New Rochelle to help the load as well.


My guess would be licensing agreements. And to the fact that Amtrak goes to Penn Station, not Grand Central causing more confusion as compared to say, the NJ transit and PATH where both go to Newark Station and Penn Station (well the Path is 33 St)

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Not to get off topic. Why can't the (MTA)/Metro North and CDOT askes Amtrak to cross honor tickets/fares on their their regional trains (it never happen for acela) going to NY Penn Station? i.e New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford and New Rochelle to help the load as well.


Amtrak's rolling stock is just as shoddy as the New Haven line fleet.

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Amtrak's rolling stock is just as shoddy as the New Haven line fleet.


The only issues I heard of Amtrak's fleet having is the HHP8s can be unreliable at times and the AEM7s that didn't get overhauled are showing there age, but still, it doesn't seem to be as drastic as the Metro North issues with the MU fleet. I'm pretty sure Metro North NH line fleet is much more shoddy than the Amtrak fleet.

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In December, I took Amtrak from New York to Baltimore. We were delayed at Metropark because of an air leak in the bathroom. Need I say more.


Sorry... I'd feasted on one too many black bean empanadas and several too many beers the night before. I think I broke that Amfleet's fragile bathroom. :cry:

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