On April 14, new Metro-North train schedules will go into effect, lengthening some rides to Grand Central Terminal by over 10 minutes.
According to an April 4 press release by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the timetables have been updated to account for spring construction, which will include bridge replacements and new interlockings. These projects, funded by the New Haven Line capital investment program, are intended to improve the reliability of trains and lay the foundations for higher speed rail service in upcoming years.
“Travel times from Connecticut to Grand Central will increase temporarily as trains will be required to slow down through work zones,” the press release said. “The minutes of additional travel time will vary by time of day and for each train.”
According to a statement by Metro-North, the most extensive work will be done on the New Haven Line. Morning and evening peak hour schedules will be lengthened between one to six minutes while off peak and weekend timetables will be extended by one to 11 minutes. Danbury, Canaan and Waterbury branch rides will be lengthened by between one and 16 minutes. The new schedules will also shift New Haven trains earlier.
For some commuters, this additional time will put more pressure on their busy schedules.
Khalil Murphy rides Metro-North from New Haven to Stamford three times a week. Though Murphy owns a car, he said that he would continue taking the Metro-North — despite this additional inconvenience. But he noted that he felt bad for individuals taking the train between New Haven and Grand Central Terminal.
“It’s already a one-hour-and-10-minute train ride and I get home late,” said Murphy.
When she heard about the new timetables, Abbey DiMatteo — who regularly commutes from Stamford to Killingworth — initially was concerned that the longer rides would affect her schedule. However, after some consideration, she said the change would be manageable.
“I guess in the grand scheme of things, two hours to two hours and 10 minutes is not that big of a deal,” said DiMatteo.
John Carini, who uses Metro-North to travel between Manhattan and New Haven twice a month, said the Metro-North service is regular and reliable. Shifting the schedules by a few minutes would not significantly impact the way he travels since he rarely checks departure times before arriving at the station. Generally, he uses the Metro-North app to purchase tickets moments before getting on his train.
“I’m a contented customer,” he said with a smile.
Graduate and professional students who regularly commute to New York City for internships or other employment opportunities also anticipate inconveniences. Stephen Gaughran GRD ’21, chair of the Graduate Student Assembly, often commutes to the Museum of Natural History in New York. On a perfect day, Gaughran said, that would be two-and-a-half hours, and adding anything to that would “definitely” be inconvenient.
“If there is construction involved, even if the average estimate is 10 minutes, sometimes that could mean much longer,” Gaughran told the News.
The updated schedules will be in place until the end of construction season on June 29.
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