All New Haven line trains restored to service

According to a message posted by the official Metro-North Twitter account, all New Haven line trains are now operating. They will travel at reduced speeds, the message said.

The message specifically said all Metro-North trains had returned to their regular operating schedule.

Metro-North Railroad service into and out of New York City’s Grand Central Terminal was suspended Wednesday morning, until now, after a reported building explosion near the railroad’s tracks.

New York City officials reported this afternoon the explosion took place at 116th St. and Park Avenue in Manhattan around 9:30 a.m. Two women are dead and a number of people are injured as a result of the blast, which caused the building to collapse.

Continuing problems

Today’s service delays compound problems plaguing the train line recently.

At a forum held in February, commuters and legislators had the chance to ask questions of Metro-North management, and they took the time to vent their many concerns.

State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143), who represents Wilton, Westport and Norwalk, led off the forum by chiding Metro-North for “implementing a new $70-million signal system that does not work. It’s become a matter of life and death, literally, that these problems get fixed quickly.”

Ms. Lavielle added that her Wilton constituents were upset there is no longer a through train from Wilton to Grand Central, causing interminable delays for the ridership. She told the officials she had a petition “with 232 signatures and I get more” demanding the restoration of the through train.

Although last year’s derailment in Bridgeport and the fatal derailment near the Spuyten Duyvil station in New York were front and center at the forum, so were more recent abominations, such as a train stranded between the Westport and Greens Farms stations for two hours in freezing weather; the shutdown of the New Haven, Harlem and Hudson lines because of human error; and the striking and killing of a female pedestrian on the Saugatuck River bridge in Westport that was never reported to local officials.

100 Day Plan

Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti recently announced a 100-day plan for improving the safety of Metro-North. In his letter to Connecticut Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, he outlined a 100-day plan to address the railroad’s operational issues.

“This is Metro-North’s first important step toward re-establishing a safe and reliable service,” he said in a press release about the letter. “This course of action includes feedback from you, as well as elected officials and our employees. This plan focuses on Metro-North returning to the basics of good railroading. This requires, first and foremost, that we rebuild the culture of safety at Metro-North that had served as the railroad’s foundation.”

Ms. Lavielle applauded the plan this week, saying “While many elements are still missing, he makes it clear that three important external reviews are currently in progress, and that he will include the results of those reviews in the plan as soon as they are available. I believe he was right not to wait for those reviews to begin taking steps toward improvement, because there are so many problems that must be addressed urgently.”