Greenwich commuters headed to New Haven and beyond face derailment impact for Monday

UPDATED SUNDAY 7 P.M. — MTA Metro-North Railroad has begun removing rail cars from the site of Friday’s derailment and subsequent sideswipe in Bridgeport.

Meanwhile, plans are being made for what sounds at best a difficult commute Monday, May 20. While commuters headed to New York City from Greenwich on Metro North will not face additional challenges other than the typical Monday morning rush, going in the opposite direction this week are expected to face major headaches.

Traffic on the Merritt Parkway and Interstate 95 is expected to be more congested than normal because of the thousands rail commuters who might drive to work or to towns with rail service. Carpooling is being strongly advised for all commuters planning to use the parkway or thruway this week, officials said. The New Haven Line is the busiest commuter rail line in the nation. Each day, approximately 30,000 Metro North customers use the stations where service has been curtailed. About 125,000 use the New Haven Line as a whole and its three branches.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said he on Sunday he was in touch with federal officials as state assets were being used as well and he hoped funds would be made available to State and local agencies involved.

Check out much more train collision coverage at Fairfield-Sun.com the website for the Post‘s sister paper The Fairfield Sun.

As of about 9 p.m. Saturday, the National Transportation Safety Board authorized removal of the rail cars from the site, allowing the investigative and cleanup process to proceed, according to Metro-North. As of 8 a.m. Sunday, 13 cars had been removed and the remaining three were expected to be removed by early Sunday afternoon.

“Once the site is cleared, crews will begin the longer and extremely difficult process of restoring the track infrastructure that was damaged by the derailment and collision,” according to a statement from the railroad.

“Our crews will essentially be rebuilding 2,000 feet of damaged track, and overhead wires and signal system,” said Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut. “This amounts to the wholesale reconstruction of a two-track electrified railroad. It will take multiple days of around-the-clock work to do that, and then to inspect, test and requalify the newly rebuilt infrastructure. Unfortunately, service disruptions on this section of the New Haven Line are expected to continue well into the coming week.”

The MTA and Connecticut DOT plan to provide more information later on Sunday detailing the plan for service on Monday. Information has been posted online by the MTA at http://mta.info/supplemental/mnr/mnr_weather_info.html

Each day, approximately 30,000 Metro-North customers use the stations where service has been curtailed. About 125,000 use the New Haven Line as a whole, and its three branches.

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