NY-Connecticut commuter line sees half capacity Monday

Reuters

By Noreen O'Donnell

Sept 29 (Reuters) - The Metro-North Railroad expects its NewHaven line to return to half capacity by Monday after a powerfailure last week caused delays for tens of thousands ofcommuters into New York City, but it will take until Oct. 8 torestore full commuter train service, officials said on Sunday.

Customers still are being urged to avoid traveling duringthe busiest part of rush hour because capacity is "still farless than the normal service our customers expect," Metro-Northsaid in a statement. "Customers should expect crowded trains andlonger travel times," the railroad added.

Some 125,000 commuters a day, including many on Wall Street,have faced long delays as crews struggle to restore fullservice. The railroad runs through hedge-fund capital Greenwich,Connecticut and nearby Stamford, where such banks as UBS AG andthe Royal Bank of Scotland maintain trading floors.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy on Sunday again urgedcommuters to work from home, saying that although he welcomedefforts by Metro-North and the Consolidated Edison powercompany, service would be limited and trains crowded.

"I have been making it clear to Con Ed and the MTA that adelay like the one they initially proposed was completelyunacceptable," he said. "I want to reemphasize that they need toalleviate this problem as quickly as possible."

Meanwhile, two U.S. senators called on Sunday for federaland state investigations into the power failure.

Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthalof Connecticut, both Democrats, have written to the U.S.Department of Energy and the New York State Public ServiceCommission asking that they help restore power and examine whatwent wrong.

The outage on the railroad's busy route between New Haven,Connecticut, and New York City began on Wednesday morning when ahigh-powered electric cable failed near Harrison, New York, atown about 22 miles north of Manhattan. The outage occurredwhile crews were working to replace an alternate power line.

"To grow jobs and strengthen our economy, safe and reliablerail service must be a top priority, and it is simplyintolerable for a single cable failure to imperil thatprogress," Blumenthal said in a statement.

Consolidated Edison Inc. crews have been looking forways to power the rail line while repairs are made. On Sundayafternoon, crews were testing temporary feeders and transformersintended to take power off the distribution system to power thetracks, said utility spokesman Allan Drury.

The power outage is the second major disruption this year toservice on the railroad's New Haven line. In May, two passengertrains collided after one derailed near Bridgeport, Connecticut,injuring dozens of people and disrupting service for days.

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