Last week, due to extreme weather and an aging fleet of cars that are bad need of maintenance, Metro-North had to scale back service on the New Haven Line. Nearly half of its current M2 rolling stock is laid up in the shop, and while the M8s are still undergoing testing, commuters are left with crowded trains in danger of breaking down.
To better maintain the fleet, the New Haven Line saw its service cut by 10 percent through at least early march. “The service we have been providing has been far less than what our customers have come to expect from us and we strive to provide for them,” Metro-North President Howard Permut said in a statement last week. “It is time for us to take these additional steps to improve our service reliability and minimize further inconvenience.”
Today, the MTA takes us inside the M2 shop to explain the problem with the fleet and the work that must go into it. This breakdown along the New Haven Line is a clear sign of what happens when states stop investing in mass transit. Hopefully, the M8s will be up and running soon, but for now, commuters from Connecticut are paying the price.
I wonder if its possible, since traction motors seem to be the biggest culprit, to run some trains by diesel to 125th St, at which point passengers can transfer to the 4/5/6 (yes, I know it’s already crowded) or to other MNR trains. Alternatively, run shorter trains, or allow one car in a long consists to not use traction power, instead relying on the rest of the train to push/pull it.
None of these situations are ideal, but passengers may prefer it to the alternative of cancelled trains and slimmed-down schedules.
I also wonder what might be done to minimize the delays in repairs (I’m sure MTA already looked at this). Either it’s a shortage in (a) manpower, (b) repair-facility space, or (c) spare parts. I doubt it’s (a) as the video claims they’re already working 24 hours a day. If it’s (c) then they may be out-of-luck. But if it’s (b) I wonder if the Arch St yard in Queens could help out. They service LIRR as well as MNR trains there.
The M2s are so heavy that push/pulling them causes not only strain on the working cars, but also slows the train down to the point where other service is affected. This is why the New Haven Line really went with the reduced service, because dead cars were causing trains to arrive in the Bronx late, which slowed down the Harlem Line, and by the time the delayed train hit Mott Haven the Hudson Line would be affected as well. It’s just better to run a healthy four-car consist than a seven-car consist with a dead pair, and concentrate on fixing those out of service as soon a possible.
I’m a big big fan of the new transparent MTA. It takes a lot more work to get blindly angry when you see these videos as opposed to a faceless and garbled voice over the intercom telling you the train’s now out of service.
Keep them coming!