Metro North advises commuters to find alternatives, expect delay - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Metro-North Mess

Metro North advises commuters to find alternatives, expect heavy delays

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Crews working on the power situation. (Photo Courtesy Con Edison’s twitter account ) Crews working on the power situation. (Photo Courtesy Con Edison’s twitter account )
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy speaks during a press conference in New York Thursday evening. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy speaks during a press conference in New York Thursday evening.
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

Metropolitan Transportation Authority sent travel advisory alerts out Thursday morning, warning commuters that service would be limited on New Haven Metro North lines because of Wednesday's power failure.

In a service advisory posted on its website, Metro North commuters were advised that limited train service would be available, and buses were going to be used along several routes.

Officials said the service would consist of limited diesel train service between Stamford and Grand Central Station in New York City. In addition, bus service would replace train service along the Waterbury Branch, and limited shuttle train service would be offered on the Danbury and New Canaan branches.

The service plan is only about to accommodate about 33 percent of the regular riders, MTA officials said. Because of that, they are asking people to seek alternative means of transportation or to stay home and telecommute if possible.

Typically about 40,000 people ride the New Haven line each weekday morning, however, on Thursday that number dropped to about 13,000 riders.

Catching a train Thursday in Connecticut was an exercise in patience and planning.

"It's very confusing," said commuter Danielle Clark. "But I was on the website last night and figured it out."

A power substation run by Con Edison of New York stopped providing power to the busiest stretch of the line,  between Stamford and Grand Central. Diesel-powered trains had to be brought in, so everyone had to transfer in Stamford to continue on into Manhattan. 

Some riders told Eyewitness News they were frustrated, but were impressed with Metro-North's reaction.

"They don't know what they're doing, and they're communicating that they don't know what they're doing," said commuter Patrick Hicks.

Service could be impacted for nearly three weeks, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Wednesday.

"Needless to say, I am frustrated. An outage of three weeks or more is completely unacceptable," Malloy said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

On Thursday, Malloy said he met with officials from Con Ed and Metro-North and quote was "Pushing them pretty hard."

"We better learn every possible lesson from this system failure," said Malloy during a press conference on Thursday evening.

Malloy asked everyone that can stay away from New York to do that on Friday. He added that a plan on power restoration should be available for Connecticut riders on Sunday night.

During the press conference, Malloy said Metro-North crews are trying to get partial restoration of electric power between Stamford and NYC on the New Haven Line.

The governor said he wants a refund plan for the Connecticut riders because the power failure is not weather-related.

"This is a failure of the system," Malloy said.

On Thursday morning, traffic quickly started to build along Interstate 95 as tens of thousands of commuters tried to figure out how to get into the city.

The traffic isn't a typical morning rush hour. Officials said there were at least 19 miles of delays on Interstate 95, and a 17-mile delay on Route 15, or the Merritt Parkway.

To add to the problem, Amtrak Acela Express service between New York and Boston will not be operating through Sunday.

However, Northeast Regional service via diesel power will continue to operate in the affected areas. Riders should expect delays up to 90 minutes, Amtrak officials said.

The governor announced on Thursday that he is halting all maintenance work in lower Fairfield County to help reduce congestion in coming days.

Officials with Amtrak will determine on Monday when service resumes. For more details on the service changes and delays, visit the Amtrak website here.

For more details on the service changes and delays, visit the MTA website here.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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