With Con Ed warning that repairs to the New Haven Line’s power system could take two to three weeks, the MTA has put in a place a stop-gap measure for Metro-North commuters. The agency promises to deliver approximately one-third of the busy commuter line’s normal service and is warning riders that this plan will be in place “until further notice.”
Beginning with the morning rush on Thursday, morning rush hour trains will run from New Haven to Stamford every 20-30 minutes with connections to diesel express service from Stamford to 125th St. and Grand Central; and diesel local service through Rye with bus service to White Plains and the Harlem Line. From Harrison, local trains will run every 20-30 minutes through New Rochelle and then direct to Fordham, 125th St. and Grand Central. Buses will run from Pelham and Mount Vernon East to Mount Vernon West and the Harlem Line. Diesel trains will leave every 30-40 minutes from Grand Central, making all local stops to Stamford with hourly connections to New Haven.
For off-peak service, trains will run very infrequently. Trains will run between New Haven and Stamford leaving every after at 45 past, and local service will run from Stamford to Grand Central every half hour. Heading north, trains will leave Grand Central four and 34 minutes after the hour making all local stops to Stamford.
For the evening rush out of Grand Central, trains will run direct to Stmford with connections to New Haven provided every 20-30 minutes. An express bus will operate from the Harlem Line in White Plains to Rye to provide connections to local trains. Finally, Metor-North will provide limited train service from Grand Central to New Rochelle, Larchmont, Mamaroneck and Harrison Stations, and Harlem Line train service to Mount Vernon West for a bus to Pelham and Mount Vernon East Stations. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
The MTA is trying to prepare customers for worst. Riders are urged to stay home if possible, and the Harlem Line will cross-honor New Haven Line tickets. Crews, meanwhile, are working “to try to establish alternative power sources to serve the New Haven Line.” It just so happens that the redundancy — a second feeder cable further up the line — is out for maintenance as Metro-North had required some repairs.
Wednesday’s disruption was another in a string of bad luck moments for the New Haven Line. Derailments and rail damage led to delays earlier this year, and each time a problem has arisen, the built-in redundancies were offline due to repairs. At a certain point, you can’t overbuild the guard against every foreseeable problem, but this is some string of ill-timed incidents. Is it a sign of decaying and aging infrastructure? Hard to say as Con Ed and the MTA were prepping for the future by refitting the other feeder cable. But with one offline, when the other goes down, operations go south in a hurry.