Rail cars show their wear as weather related equipment failures cut service

February 14, 2011

Hartford, CT –   Our commuter rail service has been cut back because of mechanical problems due to all the snow and ice dumped on the region during the last month.  Service has diminished dramatically with 40 % of the rail cars off line and commuters are in a standing room only situation.

Senator Toni Boucher a ranking member of the states transportation committee is extremely concerned saying, “Commuters are not getting the dependable transportation they deserve.”

Metro North has been standing room only for weeks since trains were taken off their normal routes and placed into the shop for repairs.  This scenario is common up and down the rail line from New Haven down to Stamford. 

“The current stress on our mass transportation infrastructure underscores the need to upgrade and maintain the most heavily used commuter corridor in the country,” said Sen. Boucher. “Commuters need to get to their jobs, provide for their families and be part of the engine of the economy. Cutting back on the mode of transportation that gets them to work is a burden.”

Commuter buses have been put in place of trains that were taken from one branch line to supplement the main line while repairs take place. Waterbury rail commuters are now forced to take buses and travel to Bridgeport where they can hop on a train and continue their ride into work. 

Metro North’s President Howard Permut says, “This extreme winter weather’s repeated pummeling of the region has had a devastating impact on our New Haven Line.  The situation is dire.”

Senator Boucher says the transportation committee has been told by Metro North they are working to fix the motors, brakes and doors on trains taken off the rails for repairs. “It’s a very frustrating time for everyone. I am hopeful we can get these cars back into service soon,” said Sen. Boucher. “But again this underscores how important it is to have a working reliable transportation infrastructure for our residents.”

The Transportation Committee has asked for a formal update on the status of the rail cars, resumption of full service and the change in the cost of monthly tickets.

Meantime, the winter train schedule has been reduced and will remain that way through the end of February.  As new and repaired rail cars are brought online schedules will improve. That cannot come soon enough. For more information on service updates you can log onto http://www.mymtaalerts.com