State, MTA agree on review before electrical work
Hartford (AP) - The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the state have agreed to establish an independent review of projects before work is done on power or electrical lines to avoid outages similar to a major disruption last September on the Metro-North Railroad.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy rebuked the region's commuter rail line after emerging from a meeting on Monday in his Capitol office with Thomas F. Prendergast, chairman and chief executive of the MTA, and Joseph Giulietti, the new Metro-North president.
"I have made it perfectly clear, as I think was evident to both of the gentlemen, that they have lost the confidence of many of our riders and citizenry in the state of Connecticut, and it's their job to earn it back, to earn it back by on-time performance, to earn it back by reliability and to earn it back by getting a reputation for safety," Malloy said.
Malloy, a Democrat, said communication between the state and the rail line, which serves New York and Connecticut, must be "factually based, real communications with real timelines for products and services to be delivered." He said he told the rail line executives that poor communications have led to "mistrust and distrust" among commuters.
The MTA operates Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road. Commuters along Metro-North's New Haven line have complained about crowded trains due to a lack of rail cars though messages are posted at stations assuring riders that the line is functioning at full levels.
Prendergast promised that the rail line will work to improve service.
"We stand aligned with the governor and the people of Connecticut and focusing on restoring Metro-North's service to the level it once had," he said.
Con Edison took one of two feeder cables out of service, at the request of Metro-North, to accommodate the railroad's work in Mount Vernon, N.Y. The remaining feeder cable failed on Sept. 25, cutting off power and forcing the commuter railroad to reduce service for nearly two weeks. Rail cars and station platforms were crowded with frustrated and angry passengers, and Connecticut highways were congested as commuters took to their cars to avoid Metro-North.
Metro-North has been plagued with other problems. A derailment and rail car collision in Bridgeport in May injured scores of passengers, and a derailment in the Bronx on Dec. 1 left four people dead. In January, downed wires left nearly 200 passengers stranded for about two hours in 10-degree weather in Westport.
Malloy said Connecticut transportation officials and the MTA and Metro-North have agreed to seek independent reviews of major projects that have "the potential, if they go wrong, of disrupting service."
The governor was not specific about who would conduct the review. Malloy said the MTA and Metro-North will develop a plan in two weeks to improve rail service in Connecticut.
Metro-North is the nation's second-largest commuter line after the LIRR.
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