Power outage disrupts Metro-North service

A power outage struck the New Haven Line of the Metro-North railroad on Wednesday, disrupting the daily commute of nearly 125,000 riders.

A Consolidated Edison feeder cable near Mount Vernon, N.Y., failed on Wednesday at around 5:20 a.m., cutting off electricity to an eight-mile section of the New Haven Line from Mount Vernon to Harrison, NY. Later that morning, Metro-North began providing limited service, supplementing its electric train service with diesel trains, buses and shuttles.As of Sunday, about half of the usual number of riders were accommodated. Full train service will not be available until Oct. 8.

The cable that failed was a feeder that supplies electricity to the overhead wires that power the New Haven Line, according to the Metro-North website. Normally, a second cable would have supplied adequate electricity, but the backup feeder has been undergoing routine maintenance, leaving both cables offline at the time of the failure. Repairs were originally expected to take three weeks or longer, but pressure from Governor Dannel Malloy has helped move up the expected completion of repairs to Oct. 7, said Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast in a Sunday press release.

Approximately 20 percent of normal New Haven Line rush-hour service will be provided by electric trains, in addition to 30 percent provided by diesel trains running only from Stamford to New York, according to the release.“The new schedule … is constrained by the power supply available to the eight-mile section between Harrison and Mount Vernon, which can only accommodate two electric trains at one time under very limited loads,” the release read.

As a stopgap measure, temporary transformers were installed on the line this weekend, allowing electric trains to operate from between Harrison and Mount Vernon starting Monday morning, according to a Sunday afternoon press release from the governor’s office.

The governor has also ordered a halt to roadwork on I-95 and Merritt Parkway to reduce traffic congestion, according to the governor’s website. New Haven Line tickets are being honored on other lines, according to the Metro-North website, and MTA has made more than 8,500 park-and-ride spaces and 72 shuttle buses available along the New Haven line.

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Charles E. Schumer announced that they expect the Department of Energy to commence a full investigation of the causes of the feeder line failure.“Con Ed must be forced to prove that going forward they have adequate systems in place to prevent additional failures,” Blumenthal said in a statement.

Governor Malloy deemed the incident “unacceptable” in a Thursday news conference, but did not specifically place blame on either Metropolitan Transportation Authority or Con Ed.

The cause and extent of the problem are still unknown because the line is superheated and must be cooled before it can be examined, according to NBC Connecticut.Many riders buy tickets on a monthly basis, and it is still unclear whether or not these customers will be reimbursed.

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