Here’s Metro-North’s announcement (which we’ve edited) about train schedule changes for the days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s, 2018 and 2019. It includes tips that go beyond schedule changes:
[Editor’s note: Some of this is repetitive, but you may be looking up this announcement fast as you’re rushing to the station, so repetition may be helpful.]
And to make your yuletide travels even easier, we have a special Christmas/New Year’s Holiday Timetable with schedules for Christmas Day (Tuesday, Dec. 25), New Year’s Eve (Monday, Dec. 31), and New Year’s Day (Tuesday, Jan. 1).
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Wednesday that every passenger rail line in Connecticut will have positive train control (PTC) installed on their systems by Dec. 31, 2018. — an announcement from Gov. Dannel Malloy’s office, followed by an announcement by the Commuter Action Group, reacting to the announcement. That fulfilling a recently enacted requirement by the Federal Railroad Administration for every passenger rail line in the country to implement the safety measure by the end of the year. [Metro-North rail lines in New York state have received approval for a postponement of PTC on rail lines in that state until 2020, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal.]
PTC is a system designed to stop a train automatically before an accident occurs, including preventing train-to-train collisions, derailments caused by excessive train speed, movement of a train onto sections of track where maintenance work is taking place, and incidents when a track switch has been left in the wrong position.
Metro-North and the Connecticut Department of Transportation issued this announcement late Friday afternoon to explain some of the delays on the New Haven Line and its branches (we’ve added the boldface and subheadings):
The recent trend of late trains on the New Haven Line, including the New Canaan, Danbury, and Waterbury Branch Lines, has primarily been the result of extensive, ongoing upgrades to infrastructure to ensure safe operations and make our service more reliable for the future. While the infrastructure work is necessary and in many cases, the train delays are unavoidable, we realize there is room for improvement in how we communicate with our customers. On the New Haven Line, delays have been largely the result of track outages and speed restrictions necessary to accommodate an unprecedented infrastructure investment program funded by the State of Connecticut. Much of this work will continue into 2019 and beyond. Projects include the construction of new bridges in Greenwich and Stamford, the continuation of our overhead catenary power replacement program, and the construction of a new railroad interlocking in East Norwalk. To accommodate the work, tracks have been taken out of service; unfortunately, however, with fewer tracks in service, our flexibility is reduced if another operational issue should arise.
Rail fare increases of 21 percent over three years, starting with 10 percent in July, and another 10 percent hike next year, cuts in train service on weekends and off-peak times on the New Canaan Branch, and bus fare increases are coming unless the state finds some funding alternative. That was the harsh message Connecticut Transportation Commissioner James Redeker gave New Canaanites on Wednesday. About 60 people went to the meeting in New Canaan Town Hall. “This is not my wish […],” Redeker said. “I’m trying to do this in a rational way, but it’s certainly not a pleasant way.”
Metro-North is warning commuters that Monday morning’s commute could be worse than usual. Here’s the announcement:
Metro-North will operate a regular weekday schedule on Monday, Jan. 8. Customers should anticipate possible delays and crowding due to the residual effects of the weather on our infrastructure and equipment. Please listen for announcements at your station.