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Rail Riders Face Delays and Packed Trains

Passengers at the Greenwich railroad station were growing impatient Wednesday waiting for the 2:39 p.m. train to Grand Central. It was running late -- again. “It throws me off my schedule when they’re late,” said Greenwich interior designer Patricia DeMuyt. “With this weather we’ve been having, you have to assume they’re doing their best.”

Even so, downed wires and equipment shortages will have Metro-North New Haven line passengers adjusting their routines. A Reduced Winter Schedule goes into effect Feb. 7 through March 7. This will reduce morning and afternoon peak schedules by 10 percent.

“The extreme weather causes the electronic and air systems on our 40-year-old-plus New Haven Line fleet to fail," MTA officials said Wednesday.

This has made riding conditions uncomfortable for passengers like Caroline Driscoll. “The trains are overcrowded, there’s no heat, they’re never on time and sometimes they cancel trains without saying anything,” said Driscoll, a Greenwich Pilates instructor from New York City who commutes daily. “A lot of times it’s standing room only on the trains before you even leave Grand Central. It’s pretty poor, and sometimes I end up getting in two hours late.”

For the remainder of the week, New Haven line passengers are looking at 20- to 25-minute delays and packed cars. Some 80 of Metro-North’s 337 trains are not operating as a result of problems such as frozen brakes, doors jammed by ice and traction motors that need to be replaced. A passenger on a packed train from New Canaan last week posted a video of a door wide open with people standing inches away as the train passed through Harlem.

“The last couple of weeks [the train ride] here and then the way home has been a nightmare,” said Matt Frye, an equity trader from New York City who commutes to Greenwich daily. “But what can you do?”

“There are no quick fixes," the MTA said in its statement.

Employees will be working around the clock making repairs and replacing parts in an effort to have cars up and running as soon as possible. With the shortage of cars, the MTA said, “We are forced to decide whether we can operate all our trains with less cars or whether we must cancel trains. Unfortunately, this week we will have to do both.”

You can read more:

Your fellow Fairfield County train riders also are speaking out about Metro-North. To see more stories, click on the headlines below:

Metro-North Cuts Service for February

Darien Commuters Left in the Cold by Train Delays

Metro-North Problems Irk Fairfielders

Weather, Delays Aggravate New Canaan Metro-North Riders

New Canaan Train Riders Endure Tree Delay

Riders in Norwalk Learn To Live With Train Woes

Stamford Train Tales: From ‘Smooth’ to ‘Nightmare’

Wilton Commuters Deal With Train Woes

Be part of the conversation: how do you cope with train problems on the New Haven line?

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