FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven Line is scheduled to be back to normal by Wednesday morning, officials said Monday.
“We are confident that the reconstruction work, inspection and testing will be completed in time for a normal rush hour on Wednesday,” Metro-North President Howard Permut said in a statement Monday evening. “We are grateful for the tireless work of all departments and employees engaged in this huge task.”
Metro-North and the Connecticut Department of Transportation have to rebuild 2,000 feet of track after Friday’s derailment and collision on the Fairfield-Bridgeport border. The agencies also need to restring overhead catenary wires to restore electricity to the rail line and retest the track and the signals before trains can begin running.
Train ridership was way down Monday, with about 750 people riding shuttle trains and buses from towns north of the accident Monday, or about 20 percent of the usual number, Metro-North said. Overall, however, ridership on the New Haven Line was down 20 percent Monday. About 2,700 people total had used the Metro-North bus service by 3 p.m. Monday, it said.
Connecticut’s main highways did not see unusually high traffic Monday, Gov. Dannel Malloy said Monday. The Merritt Parkway’s car load was actually slightly below a typical Monday, while Interstate 95 was slightly slower, he said.
“Suffice it to say, the plan worked,” Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said Monday. “People listened, and we had support systems in place."
For Tuesday, Metro-North will continue the system it set up for Monday’s commute, with trains running from New Haven to Bridgeport, buses taking commuters from Bridgeport and Fairfield to Westport, and trains running again from Westport to Grand Central. The full schedule and plan is available here .
The state will maintain its same procedures Tuesday morning that it did Monday. State Police and tow crews will be on call during rush hours to clear accidents quickly. The state Emergency Operations System will also be open to help manage the rush-hour commute.
On Sunday evening, Malloy had asked Connecticut residents to telecommute to work if possible, and carpool or vanpool if driving instead of taking the train. He asked commuters to take those same steps again Tuesday.
“This is tremendously good news,” Malloy said of Metro-North’s announcement. “However, this also means that we’re going to have one more day of great difficulty, and that’s tomorrow.”