MAMARONECK, N.Y. - New Haven Line commuters should be prepared to take alternate routes to work, or to work from home, for several weeks.
The New Haven Line was stopped between Stamford and Grand Central because of a power outage in Mount Vernon Wednesday morning. Metro-North Railroad was able to set up limited service using diesel-fueled trains by the afternoon, but the line will not be at full capacity until electricity is restored.
Metro-North has brought in additional thee diesel engines to add to the three already in service, but without electricity the rail line cannot run at full capacity. Metro-North will be able to serve about 30 to 40 percent of its normal ridership with the diesel engines.
“This is a serious, perhaps prolonged outage,” said Transportation Commissioner James Redeker.
The problem started during maintenance to a feeder line to the New Haven Line’s catenary system in Mount Vernon. Because of the amount of electricity in the line, the system has become superheated, and will require cooling with liquid nitrogen before officials can inspect the damage.
The broken feeder line supplied power to four stations in the Mount Vernon area, and powered all four of the New Haven Line’s tracks.
“We don’t know how long this will take to fix,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said Wednesday. “We are hearing estimates as long as three weeks. Hopefully that is the worst-cast scenario.”
Malloy said he would “impress upon” Metro-North that the trains need to be at full capacity as soon as possible. But officials advise residents to be prepared to find other ways to work.
The Department of Transportation will cut down on tree trimming work on the Merritt Parkway and Interstate 95 to ease congestion on the highways during rush hour.
Officials suggested that regular commuters carpool, find ways to work from home, or make arrangements to stay in New York for the next few weeks. The New Haven Line may not be running to full capacity until Oct. 14, Malloy said.
“This is going to be a substantial disruption for a substantial period of time,” Malloy said.
A new temporary timetable for New Haven Line trains will be posted to the Metropolitan Transportation Association website Wednesday night. Monthly passes will also be honored on the Hudson Line in Westchester.