Conn. announces $10M Metro-North power upgrade
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut is launching a $10 million project upgrading the power supply on Metro-North Railroad's New Haven line to prevent a repeat of an outage that disrupted service for nearly two weeks last September.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Sunday the work will begin Monday. He cited a failed electrical circuit in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., that cut power to the New Haven line in September, forcing the rail line to reduce the number of trains.
Officials also are acting in advance of the New Haven-Springfield passenger line that is expected to operate by 2016.
"In anticipation of adding even more service on this state-owned rail corridor, we want to ensure riders have as safe and reliable a commute as possible and prevent the major system interruptions that we experienced in September," the governor said.
Malloy said he will meet Feb. 13 with Joseph Giulietti, the new president of Metro-North, and Thomas F. Prendergast, chairman and chief executive of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to express his concerns about the commuter rail's operation.
A derailment in Bridgeport injured scores of people and another in the Bronx in December left four people dead.
In addition, passengers were stranded twice in January by a power outage and downed wires.
Metro-North runs the New Haven line under a contract with the state Department of Transportation and will manage the project with Connecticut Light & Power. The utility will install new transformers.
Metro-North has prepared project management and contingency plans, including substitute service plans in the event of any power issues. The rail line and CL&P have developed an accelerated schedule for replacing two transformers, beginning Monday. It's expected to be completed within 16 days. Replacing the second transformer will begin immediately after and will be wrapped up by mid-March.
Metro-North's New Haven Line is the busiest single rail line in the United States, state transportation officials said. It provided 38.8 million customer trips in 2012, an increase of 4 percent in ridership in 2010. Last year, the New Haven Line carried a daily average of about 106,000 riders.