Metro-North to reduce service, consolidate trains ahead of Thursday snow

The expected latest dose of major winter weather will force Metro-North Railroad to run on a modified schedule on Thursday.

According to Metro-North officials, the railroad will operate on a reduced schedule on the New Haven, Harlem and Hudson lines as the storm is expected to dump as many as 14 inches in the Metro-North service area. Forecasts are calling for between 5 and 9 inches in Wilton and lower Fairfield County.

Thursday’s plan will accommodate for 75% of normal weekday ridership, Metro-North officials said. Some local and express trains will be combined and will make additional stops and consolidated trains will depart at the later of the two times.  The trains to be combined were chosen to minimize customer impacts and to arrive within 10 to 15 minutes of their normal time. The schedule is available at MTA.info.

To prepare for the storm, Metro-North has called in hundreds of extra personnel to salt platforms and clear them as snow begins to accumulate at the railroad’s 122 stations. Switch heaters have been activated to ensure switches continue to function despite cold temperatures and icing.  Patrol trains will operate throughout the night to knock snow off the rails and third rail and to keep ice from accumulating on the overhead catenary wire on the New Haven Line.

Metro-North will have rescue engines will be manned and positioned at all yards, including Bridgeport, in case a passenger train becomes disabled and need a tow. There will be mechanics positioned at Pelham in case there are problems with the pantographs, the arm-like appendage at the top of New Haven Line trains that draw power from the overhead catenary wires.