Rail service to be severely limited Thursday

Metro-North service will be hindered until further notice as Con Edison works to repair a cable in New York that provides traction power to the New Haven Line.

Gov. Dannel Malloy Wednesday told Connecticut residents who commute on Metro-North Railroad to prepare for long-term problems as an electrical feeder cable failed in New York City early Wednesday morning

Service is affected between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal.

A plan for limited bus-train service starting with the morning peak hours Thursday, Sept. 26, can accommodate about one-third of the 70,000 riders who use the rail line weekdays.

For commuters to Grand Central, train service New Haven to Stamford will be provided every 20 to 30 minutes and will connect with:

• Limited diesel train service from Stamford  operating directly to Harlem to 125th Street and Grand Central Terminal;

• Limited local train service will run every 20 to 30 minutes from Stamford through Rye, connecting with express bus service to White Plains Station for Harlem Line train service to Grand Central.

Limited diesel train service will be provided every 30to 40 minutes from GCT and making all local stops to Stamford, with hourly connections at Stamford for train service to New Haven.

Shuttle trains will operate on the New Canaan and Danbury branches.

Buses will be available on the Waterbury Branch.

The service plan can be found at http://web.mta.info/supplemental/mnr/mnr_weather_info.html.

Con Edison reported that the 138-kilovolt feeder cable failed at about 5:22 a.m. Wednesday. The failure nearly brought all train traffic into New York’s Grand Central Station to a halt.

The electrical issue will force Metro-North to operate diesel-powered trains between Stamford and New York’s Grand Central Terminal. Those trains will only run once per hour while Con Edison crews work on making repairs, Malloy said. Electric train service will operate from Stamford to stations north and east on the New Haven line, he said.

A Con Ed representative said Wednesday that another feeder normally providing service to the New Haven line was out on scheduled repairs to accommodate Metro-North upgrades on their equipment.

Malloy cautioned commuters that the repairs could take about three weeks and commuters should prepare for more crowded trains. While he hopes the problem can be rectified soon, Malloy told commuters to plan for lengthy delays.

“I think people need to now assume this is a long-term problem,” Malloy said in a Wednesday afternoon press briefing with reporters.

Monthly New Haven line customer tickets will be honored along the Harlem line, though Malloy encouraged commuters to make other plans, including telecommuting or carpooling to cut down on the traffic.

Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said that while New Haven line users can board on the Harlem line, commuter parking lots there are already crowded regularly. Donovan said it is “strongly suggested” that New Haven line commuters get dropped off at those Harlem line stops rather than try to park in New York.

Emily Moser, a commuter who runs the blog Iridetheharlemline.com, said that parking would be a concern if Connecticut riders decided to park at Harlem line stations. “Many stations on the Harlem Line have large lots with daily parking, but it’s of course first come first served. Getting there early would be a very good suggestion. The further south you get, the harder it might be to find parking,” Moser said.

The best spots to park, Moser said, would be the Southeast and Goldens Bridge stations, which have large lots and plenty of parking.