News

Wrecked Metro-North Trains Removed From Connecticut Tracks

National Transportation Safety Board Investigation Underway

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The wrecked Metro-North trains from the accident last week that left dozens of people injured were removed from the tracks in Connecticut Sunday.

Removal of the wrecked trains began Sunday morning, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. By 4 p.m., the trains were fully off the tracks, and were being moved to the Metro-North rail yard in Bridgeport.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which has been investigating, gave Metro-North the green light to remove the trains.

So far, the investigation has indicated that both trains were going approximately 70 mph at the time of the accident, the NTSB said. The NTSB mechanical team is conducting a comprehensive inspection of the cars, and maintenance and inspection records have been requested by Metro-North for NTSB review, the agency said.

But there is much more to be done as the investigation continues.

“Our crews will essentially be rebuilding two thousand feet of damaged track, and overhead wires and signal system,” Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut said in a news release. “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 accident left 2,000-ft of track damaged, along with wires and signals that will take several days to be replaced. After the track is fixed the work will need to be inspected and tested, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported on Sunday.

Damaged rail cars have been removed from the tracks, giving repair crews and investigators more room to work. The NTSB expected to give control over the track to MTA on Sunday night, but service disruptions will continue at as many as twelve stations.

On Sunday Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy told reporters that repairs would take at least a week.

“Residents should plan for a week’s worth of disruptions. The delays will not be limited to mass transit, as more people get behind the wheel and drive and make their connections,” he said.

Metro-North and The Connecticut Department of Transportation have developed an alternate transportation plan for the work week.

Starting Monday morning a shuttle train will operate between New Haven and Bridgeport with an express bus to Stamford, where more trains will be available for New York City bound commuters, the agencies announced on Sunday night. A fleet of 120 buses has been assembled to provide service to and from Bridgeport, Fairfield Metro, Fairfield, and Westport. There will not be bus service to Southport and Greens Farms.

Detailed Transit Plans Available: Here

Amtrak service between New York and New Haven remains suspended as of Sunday evening, limited service between Boston and New Haven is still available.

In a statement released on Sunday night Metro-North made the following recommendations to commuters:

  •     Travel times will be significantly longer than normal and trains will be significantly crowded
  •     Metro-North representatives will be at major New Haven Line (NHL) stations to assist customers
  •     NHL Customers east of South Norwalk are encouraged to seek alternative ways to get to and from work or stagger their work schedule
  •     If possible, customers are advised to use the Harlem Line as an alternative. NHL rail tickets will be cross-honored
  •     ConnDOT will cross-honor NHL pre-paid rail tickets (as a temporary Bus/Rail uniticket) on I-95 Corridor Bus Service
  •     Metro-North will cross-honor Amtrak tickets
  •     Sign up for free email or text message service updates at www.mta.info
  •     Visit our website for periodic service updates
  •     Listen to the radio and television news: 1010 WINS | WCBS 880
  •     Customers should plan to carpool if possible
  •     Connecticut residents can get more information by calling 877-690-5114, New York residents can dial 511

Investigators have been looking at a broken section of rail to see if it is connected to the derailment and collision outside Bridgeport.

The derailment Friday was followed by a violent crash that crushed train cars and twisted tracks like spaghetti. Seventy-two people were sent to the hospital Friday evening after the eastbound train from New York City was hit by the westbound train.

The agency will be looking at the condition of the brakes, the wheels, the track and if the signals were working properly.

“In terms of the train operation, we’ll looking at how the crew behaved and how the crew operated the train,” said NTSB member Earl Weener. “Our survival factors focus will looks at injuries from this accident, determine how they happened.”

Weener said the initial information from the black boxes in the trains has been downloaded, and foul play has not been ruled out. The on-scene investigation will take about seven to 10 days, but it could be some time before the agency determines exactly what caused the derailment and collision.

Service between South Norwalk and New Haven, Conn., likely will take until after Monday to resume, as the investigation will take seven to 10 days, authorities said.

But regular service continues between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal, as well as the New Canaan and Danbury branches. Bus service is in effect between Waterbury and Bridgeport with no train connections, and Yankees game day service will be in effect between Stamford and the Yankees-East 153rd Street station in the Bronx.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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