Metro-North train usage plummets due to rail crash site work
Train usage on the Metro-North line was down 81% on Monday, as commuters faced the first workday since a derailment and collision tore apart the rail tracks at the Bridgeport-Fairifeld line on Friday, May 17.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told municipal leaders during a conference call that although there was a dramatic drop in the number of riders, traffic patterns remained the same.
The crash and resulting damage has forced the use of shuttle buses around the damaged track. Up to date commuter information may be found at mta.info.
Metro-North official: ‘Serious occurrence’
On Monday afternoon, Metro North President Howard Permut issued a statement calling the derailment a "serious occurrence" and saying that all employees were "working diligently to operate the railroad in the safest manner possible."
"Everyone at Metro-North deeply shares the concerns of the families and friends of those involved in this tragic incident," Permut said. "We thank the first responders who assisted with safely removing the passengers from the trains and transporting those who were injured to area hospitals. We are actively supporting the National Transportation Safety Board in conducting an exhaustive investigation that will determine the cause of the incident."
Permut said that of the four tracks of the New Haven Line at the scene of the incident, two are out of service due to the ongoing state Department of Transportation project to replace the overhead catenary wires that provide power to the trains. Additionally, the two other tracks and the overhead wires there received "extensive damage" after the derailment and collision.
"We are working to rebuild the two affected tracks in the area as quickly as possible so that we can restore regular train service to you," Permut said. "It is a significant undertaking that will take well into this week. Metro-North has marshaled all the necessary resources, with our forces working around the clock. During this time, we thank all the municipalities affected by this situation for their support and cooperation."
Track work continues
Malloy said Monday that one track has been restored, and work has been started on the second.
Due to an expected increase in automobile traffic, both tree cutting and construction on the Merritt Parkway have been suspended.
The state Emergency Operations Center will be open until 8 p.m. Monday.
Malloy said he does not yet have official cost estimates, although three rail cars have been lost. Those cars will potentially be salvaged for useable parts.
Both trains involved were the new M8 cars that went into service in March 2011.