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No Metro-North? No Big Problems In Fairfield County's Commute

Commuters line up to board a train Monday in Stamford, where trains are running on a normal schedule.
Commuters line up to board a train Monday in Stamford, where trains are running on a normal schedule. Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- On what should be the last day of disrupted Metro-North train service, few problems were reported on the Tuesday morning commute.

Metro-North continued to use the system it set up for Monday’s commute, with trains running from New Haven to Bridgeport and buses taking commuters from Bridgeport and Fairfield to Westport, Norwalk and Stamford to resume train travel. The full schedule and plan is available here .

More people seemed to be taking the trains Tuesday, with police reporting more cars in train station parking lots and more people using the shuttle bus system.

The highways were busy again Tuesday, with more than 23 miles of congestion reported on Interstate 95 south from Exit 34 in Milford to Exit 11 in Darien, the Department of Transportation said on its website.

The Merritt Parkway reported traffic jams for more than 18 miles from Exit 50 in Fairfield to Exit 37 in New Canaan, the DOT said.

Few large problems, other than longer commutes, where reported Monday.

“The local municipalities offered tremendous support, with signs, special lanes, satellite parking and police assistance and Metro-North is grateful for this very high level of cooperation, which ensured the operation’s success,” said Susan Doering, Metro-North’s Vice President of Customers Service and Stations.

About 750 people rode the shuttle trains and boarded buses at Bridgeport to Stamford, just 20 percent of the 4,000 people who ordinarily board trains at New Haven, Milford and Stratford during the morning peak, Metro-North said. However, overall morning ridership on the entire New Haven Line was down just 20 percent, which means many people drove to other stations to catch trains, Metro-North said.

But the work to reconstruct the track damage in Friday's train derailment and collision on the Bridgeport-Fairfield border should be compete in time for Wednesday morning's commute, Metro-North announced Tuesday. Amtrak service is expected to resume Wednesday is well.

About 100 workers are on the job, which has been ongoing around the clock since Saturday night when the National Transportation Safety Board completed its initial investigation of the scene and allowed Metro-North to begin removing the two eight-car trains, the railroad said.

“We are confident that the reconstruction work, inspection and testing will be completed in time for a normal rush hour on Wednesday,” said Metro-North President Howard Permut. “We are grateful for the tireless work of all departments and employees engaged in this huge task.”

In addition to working with the NTSB in the invetigation into the cause of the accident, Metro-North said it has taken extra precautions, including adding more track inspections after a broken rail was found Sunday.

Workers are rebuild two sections of track totaling 2,000 feet, Metro-North said. The track, including the stone, ties, rail and fasteners, is the first priority, then the overhead catenary wires will be installed with connections to electric substations. The signal system is the final component, followed by inspections and running test trains over the new rail, Metro-North said.

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