Metro-North Investigates After Norwalk Train Bridge Fails, Causes Delays

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The Walk Bridge connects East Norwalk and South Norwalk along Metro-North's New Haven Line.
The Walk Bridge connects East Norwalk and South Norwalk along Metro-North's New Haven Line. Photo Credit: File

NORWALK, Conn. – Mechanical problems during an overnight test of the equipment on the Walk Bridge in South Norwalk was to blame for the delays Thursday morning on Metro-North's New Haven Line, according to a statement on Metro-North's website.

The failure occurred during testing at 3:30 a.m. Thursday. The 117-year-old bridge over the harbor between East Norwalk and South Norwalk was unable to close due to the mechanical failure, preventing New Haven Line trains from crossing.

An investigation into the cause is underway, Metro-North said, apologizing for the lengthy delays.

Eastbound service from Stamford was suspended, and limited shuttle service was available between East Norwalk and South Norwalk for westbound commuters.

Temporary repairs to the Walk Bridge were made before 9 a.m. Thursday and train service was restored, however, congestion from the failure caused delays throughout much of the morning.  

“The failure of the Walk Bridge in Norwalk causing yet another significant service delay for rail commuters this morning further underscores the urgent need for immediate investment in our aging rail infrastructure," said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). "I support the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s effort to secure federal Sandy Resiliency Project funds to repair this 117-year old bridge and other critical, dated infrastructure along the New Haven Metro-North Line. I will do everything I can to support this application, and to urge the Federal Transit Administration to expedite its decision and funding ahead of its stated fall deadline. Connecticut commuters simply cannot wait for safe, reliable rail service.”

Earlier this spring the state announced plans for a $465 million project to replace the Walk Bridge. Federal funding would provide $349 million and $116 million would come from state funding.

The money would be used for design, engineering, environmental clearance and construction to replace the structure. 

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Why should Sandy funding be applied toward the repair of the Walk Bridge and other "aging infrastructure," Senator Blumenthal? While I applaud your initiative to take immediate, drastic action, I don't think this is right or fair. Families who have been displaced, or who may have faced complete or partial loss of perhaps their greatest asset -- and who may be battling their own (greedy) insurance companies -- would feel that they have not only been assaulted by Nature, but are having their own state government rub salt in the wound.
I think it's more appropriate to insist upon every dollar of Federal funding promised for Sandy funding to be used as intended. And given how much this region contributes in Federal taxes compared to other parts of the nation, the Federal government should pay for whatever part of bridge construction is not covered by Connecticut. How about you and your colleagues take a good look at the pension funding of the MTA as well as the administrative and corporate overhead as see where funds can be transferred from goldbrickers to bridge builders? For far too long, the MTA has been run without being accountable to others, while Metro North, with growing ridership, has annually increased fares for worsening service in an aging fleet. It finally took several deaths and a couple of derailments for long-overdue attention. Those tragedies drew focus from serious representatives as well as political opportunists, wanting to seize the spotlight as they point their fingers. To which of those groups do you belong, Mr. Senator? I feel that "gypping" homeowners who suffered the effects of Sandy two years ago, because they're making less noise than commuters inconvenienced more recently, is politically and ethically poor form.