Full Metro North schedule to resume on Wednesday

Citing “extraordinary” work by Metro-North, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Monday that the New Haven Line should be fully operational by Wednesday morning’s commute.

That would restore service less than four days after one train derailed and was struck by another, heading in the opposite direction, shortly after 6 p.m. Friday, May 17.

Commissioner James P. Redeker of the state Department of Transportation said Amtrak service will also be fully restore Wednesday morning.

Until trains are running again, the plan used Monday remains in effect for Tuesday, May 21. That means a mix of limited rail service and shuttle buses. (The plan by the Connecticut Department of Transportation and Metro-North is available here http://bit.ly/11PLBLb

Rail ridership was down 81% in “the affected area” Monday, the first since the accident and resulting service disruption. Mr. Malloy, as he did Sunday, urged Connecticut residents to work from home and stay off the roads, and the City of Bridgeport opened its offices early to get cars out of rush hour. Bridgeport municipal offices will again open one hour earlier Tuesday.

The cooperation of local agencies and the MTA with the National Transportation Safety Board allowed the track to be cleared and repairs to begin quickly, Mr. Malloy said.

Mr. Malloy said Metro-North reached out to fellow rail providers, who pitched in with the equipment necessary to expedite the repair.

While some train stations were less full than usual, highway traffic did not astronomically increase.

Mr. Malloy said backups on the Merritt Parkway were less than the average Monday, and that any increased delays on I-95 could be attributed to fog.

“If people cooperate to the extent that they did today we’ll have another great day tomorrow,” Mr. Malloy said.

The DOT has stationed extra tow trucks along major corridors to clear accidents and disabled vehicles, and Mr. Malloy said paperwork involved in accidents is being done off the road.

Connecticut’s newest rail cars are the first in the nation built to new specifications, and their performance in Friday’s derailment and subsequent collision will provide key, new information to transportation safety officials, Mr. Malloy said Monday during a 6 p.m. briefing.

Seven of the 76 people who were transported to hospitals or sought treatment on their own still admitted. One person remains in critical condition, Mr. Malloy said Monday.

This is the first time the M8 rail cars have been involved in a crash, Mr. Malloy said, increasing the level of interest from transportation safety officials.

State Department of Transportation Commissioner James. P. Redeker said these are the first cars in the U.S. manufactured to a new safety standard for “crash worthiness and protection.”

That, he and Mr. Malloy both said, raises the level of interest and curiosity on the part of government officials.

“They obviously seemed to withstand a terrific impact and protected customers,” Mr. Redeker said. “A good part of the investigation will be around this new design, the new safety standard and how the cars performed.”

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Mr. Malloy said federal officials, including the FBI, have indicated that all evidence points away from terrorism.

The crash appears to be a physical failure, “as opposed to operator error,” or an act of terrorism, Mr. Malloy said.

Mr. Malloy said he himself saw a piece of track dislodge and that caused the accident.

The tracks are regularly inspected and repairs are made as they are needed, Mr. Redeker said.

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