NBC 4 New York
Work on the damaged Metro-North tracks in Connecticut should be done sooner than expected. It's welcome news to thousands of commuters. Andrew Siff reports.
Connecticut commuters faced another morning of longer-than-normal delays on the highways leading to New York, as workers finished up repairs on the Metro-North railroad following last week's train derailment and collision near Bridgeport.
Metro-North was again running buses between Bridgeport and Stamford to get passengers around the section of track affected by the accident. Spokesman Aaron Donovan says the commute on the railroad was running smoothly, with no problems or delays reported with either the buses or trains Tuesday morning.
Both Metro-North and Amtrak plan to resume normal schedules on Wednesday. Crews have been working since Saturday to rebuild the track damaged when two trains collided, leaving more than 70 people injured.
For the latest changes and updates to Metro-North because of the crash, go here.
Connecticut lawmakers plan hearings on the crash on the rail network they say is in need of extensive improvements.
Members of the General Assembly's Transportation Committee said they have been briefed by state transportation officials over the years about the hefty investment Connecticut needs to make to fully upgrade the commuter rail line, including a couple of 100-year-old bridges that need to be replaced.
"It's like anything else, you know," said Rep. Tony Guerrera, co-chairman of the committee. "You can have a brand-new car and it runs great, but if the roads are awful, with potholes going up and down, what good is it?"
The Metro-North crash at rush hour Friday evening injured 72 people, including one who remained in critical condition Monday. It snarled commutes for roughly 30,000 people who normally use the train, forcing travelers to navigate a patchwork of cars, trains and buses.
For Gary Maddin, the drive from his home in Milford, Conn., to the Bridgeport train station normally takes 20 minutes. On Monday, it took an hour. Then he had a shuttle bus and a train ride before he got to his destination, Grand Central Terminal in New York.
"It's a lot," he said. "It's a nightmare just to get into the city today."
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said resumption of rail service is "tremendously good news."
Some commuters used a jury-rigged alternative that is to continue Tuesday: A shuttle train ran between New Haven and Bridgeport, where a bus connection to Stamford circumvented the accident scene, and finally customers boarded a train for New York.
Others drove themselves, and state officials nervously watched heavy traffic on two major arteries in southwest Connecticut, Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway.
But transportation officials were pleased that area highways were not as choked as they feared, Malloy said. He said commuters heeded his warning over the weekend about the prospect of highways becoming parking lots if all 30,000 of the usual train riders drove instead.
"Today went exceedingly well," the governor said. "People listened to us. Many people stayed home or worked from home."
Backups on the Merritt Parkway were less than on an average Monday, and I-95 was only slightly more jammed than usual because of fog, he said.