Updated 10:45 p.m. : FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Train service was returning to Grand Central Terminal late Thursday, more than three hours after a computer problem shut down all of Metro-North, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes announced via Twitter.
"Just spoke with Howard Permut, MTA Pres. GCT upper & lower levels just opened, will allow trains in and clearing of GCT in next hour," he said via Twitter @jahimes. "Permut said cause was electrical work next to control center in GCT which shut down computer and cut power to signals on all lines."
But state Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-Wilton, said via Twitter @RepGailLavielle that no trains were running between Danbury and South Norwalk. "DOT doesn't know when Danbury Line will be back up either. Wow," she said.
Updated 10:15 p.m. : FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Train service has been restored on all three lines -- Hudson, Harlem and New Haven --- from 125th Street to outlying points, Metro-North announced via Twitter at about 10:15 p.m. Thursday.
"We are working to restore service in and out of Grand Central Terminal," it said via Twitter @MetroNorth. "Customers should expect significant residual delays."
Train service has been disrupted since a computer problem at about 7:45 p.m. Thursday. Significant delays were reported
Rail advocate Jim Cameron of Darien said via Twitter @CTRailCommuters, "MNRR says shutdown was for safety after power failure to computer at HQ in NYC controlling all signals, all 3 lines."
He also said, "Trains were told to stop where they were for safety. Trains were guided by radio to nearest station so pax could get off. ... Electricians rigged temp power to computer at HQ and signals restored 9:30."
Updated 9:45 p.m.: FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- "Power has been restored to Metro-North signals, and trains are returning to service with delays," the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced via Twitter at about 9:45 p.m. Thursday.
Trains were running on all lines -- New Haven, Hudson and Harlem -- except on the Danbury branch, it said.
Original story: FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. - Shortly before 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Metro-North announced that all trains on the New Haven, Hudson and Harlem lines in Connecticut and New York were stopped due to signal issues.
Passengers on the stopped trains have been stranded on the rails since about 7:45 p.m., Metro-North said.
Metro-North personnel are responding to the situation, a statement said. It was not clear how long the shutdown would continue.
Spokeswoman Majorie Anders confirmed to Hearst Connecticut Media Group that the computer system that controls the trains had gone down.
Anders said there might have been a power interruption to the main system that controls the trains.
Metro-North conductors were told to let their passengers out and tell them to seek alternate forms of transportation to reach their destinations.
Jason Li of Fairfield, a senior sales executive for radio station WFAN, was trying to get the 8:32 p.m. train out of Grand Central Terminal when he learned of the shutdown. “There’s nothing coming in and there’s nothing going out,’’ he said.
Li said he usually returns home earlier but had a late meeting Thursday.
“I’ve taken the 8:32 before and it’s generally pretty full,’’ he said. “We don’t know what’s going on. There’s no information if it’s going to be a local or what. It will probably be standing shoulder to shoulder.”
As for the prospect of spending a night in New York, Li was unsure. “I just don’t know yet. We’re not getting any information.”
It was the second straight night that passengers became stranded on the tracks. Late Wednesday, a train broke down near the Greens Farms station in Westport, leaving 200 passengers to wait two hours for a rescue train.
No other official information was available, but many commuters began to vent their frustration via Twitter. Here are a sample of Metro-North-related Tweets:
- State Rep. Gail Lavielle @RepGailLavielle: All New Haven Line trains now stopped, "computer shutdown". DOT Commish says no action until new M-N prez arrives & gets acclimated. WHAT?
- Marcus Harun @marcusharun: Conductors on my train told us to seek "alternate transportation". Delays are indefinite. #metronorth #mhtrainfail
- Alyssa Lane @AlyssaLane08: Announcement number 8 from our conductor: "Still nothing new to report folks." Gee, thanks. Very informative. #metronorth
- John Callanan @johncallanan: #metronorth needs to start issuing refunds. Clearly they are not earning their ridiculous fares. #MetroNorthFail #commutefromhell