FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- More than 80 percent of the Connecticut passengers traveling in peak hours on Metro-North trains on the New Haven Line will have faster trips to Grand Central Terminal under the new train schedules that go into effect on Sunday, May 11.
The travel time for most New Haven Line customers will typically be up to two minutes shorter inbound, and one minute shorter to six minutes longer outbound, than the current schedule, Metro-North said.
About 83 percent of AM peak New Haven Line customers traveling from in Connecticut will have a faster trip to Grand Central. Only 12 percent will have a slower trip with the remaining 5 percent seeing no change to their current commute times, Metro-North said.
This improvement is due, in part, to the completion of catenary wires and bridge replacement work between Southport and Bridgeport. For the first time since 2010, all four tracks are now available. Previously, only two of four tracks were available in this area as Connecticut Department of Transportation contractors replaced the overhead catenary wires and upgraded the four bridges that carry the tracks over local roads.
The New Haven Line will experience the greatest number of changes to the schedule, mostly due to mandatory speed reductions and speed restrictions at the five movable bridges and two critical curves. Other service changes to look for include:
- The current 6:10 a.m. train from New Haven to Stamford is extended to Grand Central, providing an additional express train from New Haven in the AM Peak.
- On the Danbury Branch, the first weekday train will once again operate as a through train, departing at 5:28 a.m. and giving a one-seat ride to Grand Central. The 4:29 p.m. train from Grand Central to Danbury will operate as a through train, with a 5:18 p.m. stop at Stamford. Ongoing work to improve the grade crossing protection system on the Danbury Branch will require the elimination of one mid-day round trip between South Norwalk and Danbury.
- Midday and weekend busing on the Danbury Branch will continue until further notice.
- On the Waterbury Branch, the 5:52 a.m. train will now end its run at Bridgeport, where connections will be available to Stamford and Grand Central.
“After massive failures and overwhelming complaints from the commuters on the Metro-North line – the most heavily ridden rail line in the country -- new leadership seems to have gotten the message," state Sen. Toni Boucher said in a statement. The Republican lawmaker represents Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton.
"These new schedule changes are finally responding to what the commuters need and have been asking for – for some time. But will travel times be improved, will bottlenecks be eliminated, will safety be a priority? We will not know the answers to these important questions until the new schedule goes into effect."
In a statement, Metro-North promised to provide service that is safe and reliable; a schedule that provides the same number of trains as the current schedule; and improved travel times.
"By reliable, we mean that if the new schedule says your train is supposed to arrive at your station at 8:30 a.m., it should arrive at 8:30 a.m.," Metro-North said. "And we will accomplish this while still adhering to mandatory speed restrictions and slower operating speeds imposed on all three of our lines by the Federal Railroad Administration’s Emergency Order 29, as well as accommodating track inspection and maintenance work and construction projects."