Train crash expected to make for chaotic Monday commute

Southwestern Connecticut commuters could face a chaotic return to work on Monday as the New Haven Line rail collision investigation continues and much of the line remains shut down. Traffic on the Merritt Parkway and Interstate 95 is expected to be more congested than normal because of the thousands rail commuters who might drive to work or to towns with rail service.

The New Haven Line is the busiest commuter rail line in the nation. Each day, approximately 30,000 Metro-North customers use the stations where service has been curtailed. About 125,000 use the New Haven Line as a whole, and its three branches.

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi III of New Canaan has asked police and parking officials to loosen parking restrictions in New Canaan on Monday for commuters living in areas that won't have train service after the Metro-North train accident in Fairfield Friday. Other towns, such as Darien and Stamford, are doing the same for commuters who normally catch the train east of South Norwalk.

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Carpooling is being strongly advised for all commuters planning to use the parkway or thruway this week, officials said.

In a conference call with municipal leaders Sunday Gov. Malloy was asked by Mallozzi if towns will be reimbursed by the state or federal government for extra costs this week. He noted that towns such as New Canaan will have increased police and Parking Bureau services provided to help neighboring commuters navigate the delays associated with the transit service disruptions.

The governor said he was in touch with federal officials as state assets were being used as well and he hoped funds would be made available to State and local agencies involved, Mallozzi told the Advertiser Sunday.

"Most importantly, we are more concerned with what we can do to help the region and all hope that federal and state resources could be used to offset our immediate costs as we try to do our best to help the situation we all find ourselves involved with," Mallozzi said.

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