Commuters are warned to expect crowded trains and delays Wednesday morning after a fire damaged Metro-North tracks in Harlem Tuesday. Regular service is not estimated to return until Friday at the earliest, according to MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan.
The fire, which Donovan specified was not actually on the tracks, but at a business under the tracks, was under tracks used by all three commuter lines.
According to a report broadcast by CBS news from the New York Fire Department chief, the fire call came in at 6:42 p.m. and the fire department was on the scene in four minutes. The fire destroyed the center as well as approximately 10 cars in the area. The four-alarm fire was hot enough to pop bolts out of steel and melted one traffic light according to news reports.
At the time of the news report, approximately 11 p.m. Tuesday night, all nursery employees had been safely evacuated and accounted for. One fireman had been injured in a fall.
Metro-North has restored limited service to and from Grand Central Terminal, hours after a massive four-alarm fire underneath the Park Avenue Viaduct in Manhattan forced suspension of service in and out of Grand Central Terminal.
Trains are running on a Saturday schedule with limited service Wednesday.
“Customers should anticipate delays and extremely crowded conditions, and are encouraged to consider working from home or finding alternative transportation,” according to an advisory posted at MTA.info.
Metro-North personnel continue to make repairs to a section of the viaduct, which requires the two inside tracks to remain out of service. Trains will be able to safely operate on the two outside tracks of the viaduct with train speeds reduced from 60 mph to 30 mph, the railroad reported.
Metro-North is part of the MTA, whose subways, buses, and railroads provide 2.73 billion trips each year to New Yorkers – the equivalent of about one in every three users of mass transit in the United States and two-thirds of the nation’s rail riders. MTA bridges and tunnels carry more than 285 million vehicles a year – more than any bridge and tunnel authority in the nation, according to the MTA website.
Additional reporting by Darien Times Editor Susan Shultz