Hearing Comes Month After Power Failure On New Haven Line

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The two top officials at Metro-North Railroad and Con Edison said they’re working together to prevent future power problems like the one that disrupted service along the busy commuter rail line last month.

Meanwhile, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Monday night was pressuring the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to take legal action against Con Edison.

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Con Edison President Craig Ivey and MTA Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut testified Monday in Bridgeport during a congressional field hearing organized by Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Ivey said a forensic analysis should be completed by early November to determine what caused an electric feeder cable to fail on Sept. 25, cutting power to part of the New Haven Line and forcing the railroad to reduce rail service by half. The disruption lasted 12 days.

Ivey told the subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security that Con Edison had “not seen failures on these feeders” and the outage was “something we’ve not seen in our history.”

As WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported, there was a lot of finger-pointing at the hearing, with Con Ed and Metro-North officials blaming each other for the outage.

State Rep. Gail Lavielle of Wilton, who represents a number of commuters, said it was established that the power line that failed was six years beyond its 30-year lifespan.

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“Con Ed told us that they didn’t really think the age of the line made any difference and that it was more a question of thermal conditions, weather conditions and so on,” she told Schneidau.

Lavielle and State. Sen. John McKinney of Fairfield, who both attended the hearing, said they were left to conclude that neither Con Ed nor Metro-North are willing to take responsibility for the service disruption.

Gov. Dan Malloy has said he wants answers as to why a back up power source was not in place.

“I hope this outage serves as a wake up call to both Con Ed and the MTA when it comes to maintenance,” Malloy said earlier this month. “We need to look at why this happened and take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

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