U.S. Senators seek probe of NY-Connecticut commuter line failure

Reuters

Sept 29 (Reuters) - Two U.S. senators called on Sunday forfederal and state investigations into a power failure on theMetro-North Railroad, which has been causing delays for tens ofthousands of commuters into New York City.

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, a town about22 miles north of New York City. The outage occurred while crewswere working to replace an alternate power line.

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

"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.

A reduced schedule was in effect this weekend, according tothe railroad, which has said it could take weeks to fully repairthe line.

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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