Reporting Paul Murnane
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Heavy winter snows have pounded Metro-North’s aging rail system into submission – at least partially.
Metro-North railroad is now using a “reduced winter schedule” on its New Haven line due to weather-related equipment shortages. The railroad has been forced to run shorter trains, less frequently, which has many commuters sticking to off-hour schedules.
“I take a 5:15 train in the morning. Sometimes I take a 1:14 late at night. I haven’t had any trouble with them,” said Richard Nachstein of Pelham.
“It’s to avoid circumstances where trains are 20 or 30 minutes late and are picking up the passengers who normally come for two or three trains,” Metro-North Railroad president Howard Permut told WCBS 880 reporter Paul Murnane when he asked about the service reduction.
The line has been hit hard by the repeated snowstorms in the New York metropolitan area.
“The entire month of January,” complained Dianna Aviles of New Rochelle. “Shortages on train cars and delays…very rough.”
The railroad said previously that snow and extreme cold had left about 40 percent of its New Haven line cars out of service.
The storm has caused a myriad of problems on these cars, including trouble with the equipment on top, the motors underneath and the mechanisms that control the doors.
The big problem is an aging fleet. The vast majority of the railroad’s electric fleet – almost 70 percent – is over 40 years old. Too many of the old cars are out of service and that’s making for some frustration on the platform.
“I’ve never seen this in 34 years,” said John Standish, Metro-North electrician. “They come and you fix one thing and sometimes you find three.”
The reduced schedule is in effect through March 4. It means that weekday morning and evening peak service will be reduced about 10 percent.
Also, a Sunday schedule is now in effect on both Saturdays and Sundays.
Metro-North says it has been working round-the-clock to repair train cars.
While Metro North officials wait for the weather to break to bring new computerized cars into the mix, there is a temporary solution. It involves patience.
“There’s nothing they can do,” said commuter Cosme Borrero.
Schedules are available at ticket offices and on the Metro-North website.
For complete traffic and transit info, click here.
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