Metro-North to increase off-peak trains

Metro-North plans to increase midday and weekend service along the New Haven Line this fall, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Wednesday, Sept. 24.

Off-peak weekday trains will start running every half-hour between New Haven and Grand Central Terminal starting Monday, Nov. 10. For years, midday trains have only run once an hour on the New Haven Line, which is owned by Connecticut and operated by Metro-North Railroad.

Increased weekend service —three more trains into New York and up to six new trains out of the city — is scheduled to begin on Sunday, Nov. 9.

There are no plan to increase service on the New Canaan or Danbury branch lines.

Mr. Malloy said he and other state officials were making good on a promise made in 2012 to expand service.

“With off-peak and weekend trains running almost around the clock, Connecticut riders will see more frequent, reliable and convenient service which is our end goal when deciding what kinds of investments to make in this commuter line,” Mr. Malloy said. “With this good news, the delivery of our new M-8 cars and the upgrades we are making to improve infrastructure and operations, we are continuing to move the New Haven Line to where it needs to be to best serve the tens of thousands of Connecticut residents who depend on this system every day.”

Three new midday trains will depart from New Haven on weekdays at 11:25 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 1:25 p.m. Four new trains will leave New York’s Grand Central Terminal at 9:34 a.m. 10:34 a.m., 11:34 a.m. and 12:34 p.m.

Saturday will have new trains leaving New Haven at 2:25 p.m., 3:25 p.m., and 6:25 p.m.; Trains from New York will leave at 10:34 a.m., 11:34 a.m. 12:34 p.m., 1:34 p.m., 2:34 p.m., and 10:34 p.m.

Sunday service will have new trains leaving New Haven at 2:25 p.m., 3:25 p.m., and 7:25 p.m.; while new trains will depart New York at 11:34 a.m., 12:34 p.m., 1:34 p.m., 2:34 p.m., and 10:34 p.m.

As of Thursday, Sept. 25, the new schedule was not on the Metro-North’s website. But the trains should include stops and departures from Stamford, which is about midway between New Haven and Grand Central.

The changes will also include additional service on the New Haven line’s Waterbury branch in response to service complaints from riders in the Naugatuck Valley.

“A modern and efficient transportation network is one of the key components of a competitive business climate, and more frequent service between New Haven and New York, along with other upgrades to the Metro-North system, will add more options for business travelers and improve service along the critical New Haven line,” said Joe Brennan, executive vice president of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association.

James Redeker, commissioner of the state Department of Transportation, said trains running every 30 minutes “will make it much easier for customers — whether heading for New York for work or pleasure — to plan their travel.”

Jim Cameron, a long-time Metro-North commuter and founder of the Commuter Action Group, gives credit to Mr. Malloy for bringing about the changes. While the new rides won’t necessarily affect commuters, Mr. Cameron said it would assist discretionary riders who might otherwise drive, which could improve traffic on Interstate 95. Mr. Cameron also says the new trains may add revenue to Metro-North with more services.

“I think he (Malloy) deserves credit for this,” Mr. Cameron said. “Let’s see how this works.”