MTA Says Peak Ridership Down 25 Percent Wednesday Morning

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Metro-North Railroad announced full service will be restored to the Hudson Line Thursday following a suspension that lasted several days due to a fatal derailment in the Bronx.

Crews finished reconstructing a second track near the Spuyten Duyvil station, allowing resumption of full service, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

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The agency said the work was completed by mid-afternoon Wednesday and was inspected by Sperry Rail Car, which uses ultrasonic technology.

The Spuyten Duyvil station has three tracks. The middle track was badly damaged and the track closest to the river was destroyed during the derailment. Reconstruction of Track 4, the most seriously damaged, will continue for the remainder of the week, the MTA said.

“I want to thank our customers for their patience during the railroad’s recovery from this most tragic accident,” said Metro-North President Howard Permut.  “And I want to thank the dedicated men and women of Metro-North who worked long and hard to achieve this reconstruction.”

Limited service had been restored in time for Wednesday morning’s commute.

Officials said the first train rolled through the area of the crash at 5:24 a.m.

Commuters using the train line earlier Wednesday expressed some uneasiness regarding their trip, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.

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“You kind of put your hope and safety in someone else’s hands,” commuter David Michael said.

As the MTA works to repair the final track, the agency is coming under fire from federal regulators, Brown reported.  The U.S. Department of Transportation sent a letter to MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast calling Metro-North’s record of four serious accidents in less than seven months “unacceptable.”

In response, MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan said, “We have significant concerns about the current situation at Metro-North, and are actively considering other ways that Federal Railroad Administration can use its federal oversight authority.”

The DOT has called for immediate implementation of a safety system known as Confidential Close Call Reporting — which flags potential dangers before they arise.

The MTA said ridership on the Hudson Line was down by about 25 percent during the normal morning peak on Wednesday, possibly as some customers diverted to the Harlem Line. The railroad said it expects customers to return on Thursday.

The early Sunday morning accident left four dead and more than 60 others injured.

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