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Full Railroad Service May Be Weeks Away

It may take weeks for full electricity service to be restored for the New Haven Line. See Metro-North's website for bus shuttle and diesel train schedules.

The article was written by David Gurliacci, editor of the Darien Patch. It has been posted to our Valley Patch sites because many Valley residents utilize Metro-North's services.

Update 5:58 p.m.:

Metro-North's new service plan, just posted on its website, involves "limited bus service" for the New Haven Line during peak commuting times, along with diesel trains providing some service between Stamford and Grand Central Station.

According to the plan, the entire capacity of the service -- including both diesel train and shuttle bus service from Stamford to Grand Central Station -- will only be about a third of what it usually provides.

Railroad authorities are asking commuters to find alternate means of getting to work, just as Gov. Dannel Malloy asked during his 4 p.m. news conference.

Update 4:29 p.m.:

Diesel trains can restore only 30 to 40 percent of the disrupted New Haven Line railroad service between Stamford and Grand Central Station, Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a 4 p.m. news conference.

"We don't really know how long it will take" to restore electric service to the rail line, Malloy said. It could take weeks, he said. 

"Folks, plan on long-term lack of service or being under-served," the governor said.

Rail riders should check the Metro-North website tonight to get information on the schedule of diesel service on the line between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal or the schedule of bus service which will take commuters to the White Plains railroad station.

Commuters should try to carpool, use vans together -- possibly to get to stations on the Harlem Line which will accept New Haven Line tickets -- or work from home if they can, Malloy said. 

Metro-North officials are getting more diesel trains to run the New Haven Line in upcoming days or weeks, but there are only enough to restore 30 to 40 percent of the service, Malloy said.

"They don't have an immediate solution to this problem," Malloy said of Metro-North. "We're going to have limited service for an extended period of time."

At another point, Malloy said, "We don't know how long it could take. [...] This is going to be a substantial disruption for a substantial time. [...] I'm saying, plan for days."

The feeder line carries "a massive amount of electricity" which fully powers the line past at least four stations on the New Haven Line, Malloy said.

Malloy said the extent of the damage to the electricity cable in Mount Vernon, NY appears to be substantial, but the full extent isn't known. One problem is that the cable is extremely hot and has to be cooled down for repairs.

The power cable was the only one powering a section of the railroad line since a second line was being replaced, Malloy said.  

The news conference began at about 4:05 p.m. and ended at 4:23 p.m.

Update 4:01 p.m.:

Con Edison says it normally takes two to three weeks to repair the kind of problem it's facing with the New Haven Line cable feeder.

Here's Con Edison's statement, posted on its website:

"
Con Edison is working with Metro-North to try to establish alternative power sources to serve the New Haven line. Company crews are working around the clock to make repairs to a feeder cable that failed earlier today, but repairs of this nature typically take 2-3 weeks. 

"Another feeder normally providing service to the New Haven line was out on scheduled repairs to accommodate Metro-North upgrades on their equipment.

"We apologize for the disruption, and we are working with Metro-North to help resolve the problem.

"Con Edison advises commuters to check back with Metro-North atwww.mta.info for service updates."


Update 1:46 p.m.:

Metro-North has  posted this statement, with afternoon/evening commute train times between Grand Central Terminal and the Stamford train station, on its website (italics added):

"For the remainder of today, Wednesday, September 25, 2013, extremely limited train service using diesel locomotives on the New Haven Line will remain in effect between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal due to the loss of Con Edison feeders that supply traction power to the NHL electric fleet.

"Hourly Eastbound Service is being provided from Grand Central Terminal (leaving every ten minutes after the hour) and making all local stops to Stamford. Hourly Westbound Service is being provided from Stamford (leaving Stamford on the hour) and making all local stops to Grand Central Terminal. Electric train service from New Haven (leaving approximately 14 minutes after every hour) to/from Stamford will continue to operate.

"Please listen for announcements at your station."


Update 1:29 p.m.:

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is urging commuters on the New Haven Line between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal to find an alternate way to get through, according to a statement released by his office.

Malloy plans to hold a news conference at 4 p.m. about the disrupted service on the New Haven Line, according to the statement, which was emailed at 1:10 p.m.

Update 12:54 p.m.:

Metro-North says it may offer train/bus shuttle service on the New Haven Line Thursday morning, and the railroad is giving no estimates yet as to when regular service will be fully restored.

The railroad has posted on its website the same statement posted earlier by New Rochelle public radio station WVOX (see 12:20 p.m. update, below).

Update 12:50 p.m.:

Con Edison, the electric utility serving the New Haven Line in New York state, issued a statement giving a few more details about the equipment problem that continues to cause havoc on the New Haven Line.

According to other reports (see the 12:20 and 12:38 p.m. updates, below), full service may not be restored even by Thursday morning on the New Haven Line.

"Con Edison crews are working to restore a 138kV feeder cable, serving the Metro-North New Haven line, after the cable failed at 5:22 a.m. today. Another feeder normally providing service to the New Haven line was out on scheduled repairs to accommodate Metro-North upgrades on their equipment.

"We apologize for the disruption, and we are working with Metro-North to help resolve the problem.

"Con Edison advises commuters to check back with Metro-North atwww.mta.info for service updates."


Update 12:42 p.m.:

A woman was pushed in front of an empty northbound train at the White Plains railroad station, according to a report in the Journal-News of Westchester County.

The incident caused some delays in service at the station, where some commuters often go to escape service disruption on the New Haven Line.


Update 12:38 p.m.:

A Con Edison spokesman told Hearst newspapers that he doesn't expect power to be restored to the disrupted part of the New Haven Line by Wednesday evening's commute, according to this report in the Stamford Advocate.

Update 12:20 p.m.:

The disruption on the New Haven Line between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal may well continue into Thursday morning, according to a report.

WVOX, a public radio station in New Rochelle, NY, has published this statement from Metro-North:

"For the remainder of today, Wednesday, September 25, 2013, extremely limited train service using diesel locomotives on the New Haven Line will remain in effect between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal due to the loss of Con Edison feeders that supply traction power to the NHL electric fleet. 

"Hourly Eastbound Service is being provided from Grand Central Terminal (leaving every ten minutes after the hour) and making all local stops to Stamford. Hourly Westbound Service is being provided from Stamford (leaving Stamford on the hour) and making all local stops to Grand Central Terminal. Electric train service from New Haven (leaving approximately 14 minutes after every hour) to/from Stamford will continue to operate.

"The service plan can accommodate 10% of the regular ridership on the New Haven Line. As a result, customers should seek alternate service and expect crowded conditions. New Haven Line tickets continue to be cross honored on the Harlem Line. Please listen for announcements at your station.

"Con Edison is working at the scene to assess the extent of the damage and then determine the length of time to return power to the New Haven Line. 

"At this time, a train/bus shuttle service is being developed that would begin for the AM Peak on Thursday, September 26, 2013."

Update 11:41 a.m.:

For anyone going to White Plains to get a Metro-North train into New York City: A woman was hit by a train at or near the station,according to the Journal-News of Westchester County. 

Delays may result from the police activity there, according to Metro-North.

Update 11:14 a.m.:

The Amtrak website train status Web page says trains from Stamford to Boston are running about 90 minutes late and expected to continue doing so. Amtrak trains running from Stamford to Penn Station in New York are about a half hour late.

Update 11:05 a.m.:

The New Haven Line is providing on-time or close to on-time train service between New Haven and Stamford, Metro-North reports.

The service disruption remains between Stamford and New Haven, with one train per hour going each way.

Update 10:58 a.m.:

Here's the schedule for this morning's New Haven Line trains between the Stamford railroad station and Grand Central Terminal, according to Metro-North:

At 10 minutes past the hour, a diesel-powered train leaves Grand Central Terminal for Stamford. On the hour, a deisel-powered train leaves Stamford for Grand Central Terminal.

Update 10:48 a.m.:

The latest news is that there is no news on the New Haven Line service disruption. Just thought you'd want to know.

Con Edison, the electric utility in Westchester County, says it's crews are still working on the power line problem, and the public should look to Metro-North to find out anything more:

"#ConEdison crews are working with @MetroNorth to help resolve the problem on New Haven line trains. Check with Metro North for updates
Update 10:17 a.m.," the utility said in a tweet.

Update 10:17 a.m.:

A Metro-North railroad official in New Haven told the New Haven Register that power was expected to return in "several hours."

Here's part of what the Register reported this morning: "The supervisor of Metro-North at Union Station in New Haven said they expect a three- to four-hour delay while Con Edison works on the lost feeder, reportedly in Harrison, N.Y. They are uncertain at this time if this issue will affect the afternoon commute, and that will depend on how long it takes Con Edison to fix the issue."

Update 10:10 a.m.:

The Wall Street Journal has reported a few more details about the cause of  the New Haven Line breakdown:

"A spokesman for Con Edison said a “high voltage feeder” circuit failed Wednesday morning, cutting power to the railroad substation that sends power to trains. The utility offered no timetable for restoration of power."

Update 10:07 a.m.:

The accident scene a half mile before Exit 5 in Interstate 95's southbound-lanes has been cleared Connecticut Department of Transportation reports.

In a 10:02 a.m. tweet, CONNDOT said: "Cleared: (92513022) Motor Vehicle Accident - GREENWICH I95S 0.47 miles before Exit 5 (US 1) at 9/25/2013 10:02:51 AM"

Update 9:29 a.m.:

Why did the Con Ed feeder cable fail? They dunno, according to this report by The New York Times:

"It is unclear what caused the power loss or when full service might return. A spokesman for Con Edison said a team was working to restore the 138,000-volt feeder, housed in Mount Vernon, N.Y., but added, 'We don’t know why it failed.'"

Update 9:26 a.m.:

If you're driving or planning to drive on Interstate 95 South, keep this in mind: A traffic accident occurred in the southbound lanes about half a mile before Exit 5 in Greenwich, the Connecticut Department of Transportation just tweeted.

The tweet reads: "Motor Vehicle Accident - GREENWICH I95S 0.47 miles before Exit 5 (US 1) at 9/25/2013 9:24:25 AM"

Update 9:22 a.m.:

Forget about driving to White Plains to grab a train, the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council tweets.

"Muni parking at White Plains is full. Try another station if you are a NHV refugee. Or plan C... Drive to CitiField for #7 subw to GCT
Update 9:12 a.m." the commuter council's twitter account tweeted at 9:16 p.m.

Interstate 95 was congested at points between Stratford and Greenwich, the Connecticut Post reported earlier this morning. A check of state Department of Transportation traffic cams at this point shows a lack of congestion:


Update 8:54 a.m.:

Metro-North has issued this service announcement:

Service Alert: Metro-North will provide extremely limited service on the New Haven Line between Stamford and Grand Central using diesel locomotives due to a Con Edison power problem.  

"Hourly Eastbound Service will be provided from Grand Central Terminal making all local stops to Stamford starting at 9:10 AM.  Hourly Westbound Service will be provided from Stamford making all local stops to Grand Central Terminal beginning at 9 AM. 

"Customers should expect crowded conditions.  New Haven Line tickets continue to be cross honored on the Harlem Line. Please continue to check this website for updates and listen for announcements at your station."

Update 8:50 a.m.:

Amtrak is hopeful that service will be restored, although well after normal commuting time.

Amtrak says in an 8:20 a.m. tweet: "Service New York Penn, NY (NYP) to New Haven, CT (NHV) delayed approximately 60 - 90 minutes due to power system problems. Repairs underway."


Update 8:44 a.m.:

The Darien Times reports that, according to a Con Edison spokesman, power for Metro-North service should be restored by about 9:20 a.m.

Update 8:37 a.m.:

A problem with a feeder cable in Mount Vernon, NY caused the disruption, according to WNTH-TV, although the Journal-News of Westchester County says the "power issue" was in New Rochelle.

Initially, delays occurred between Harrison and Mount Vernon at 5:42 a.m., the Journal-News reported. About 30 minutes later, service between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal was suspended, according to the newspaper.

"One [diesel-powered] train will leave Stamford on the hour going to New York City and one train will leave Grand Central Terminal on the hour going to Stamford, making all local stops," WCBS-TV reported in an online article. Metro-North, however, said commuters should try to find alternative means of getting to work.

Update 8:23 a.m.:


One train per hour is now running between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal, making all local stops after service on that part of the line was suspended earlier this morning, according to WNTH-TV, Channel 8.

WNTH said in a tweet: "Limited service to resume from Stamford. One train on the hour, making all local stops. It's gonna be crowded, folks."

Original article 8:17 a.m.:


New Haven Line service has been suspended between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal, and service is limited between New Haven and Stamford, Metro-North announced Wednesday morning.

The cause of the problem is a disruption in electric utility service from Con Edison in New York, according to Metro-North.

Metro-North released this statement:

"New Haven Line Service is suspended between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal until further notice due to the loss of a Con Edison Feeder.  New Haven Line tickets will be cross honored on the Harlem Line.  Limited service will be provided between Stamford and New Haven.  As more information becomes available we will notify you as soon as possible.  Please listen for announcements at your station."

At 7:30 a.m., Metro-North issued this tweet:

"Limited service is being provided between Stamford and New Haven- Please stay tuned for updates and listen for announcements at your station."

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