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Metro-North Delays Snarl NYC Commuters For Sixth Day

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METRO NORTH
FILE - This Sept. 25, 2013 photo, commuters stand in the doorway of a Stamford bound train at Grand Central Terminal as transit on the New Haven line is running on limited capacity, in New York. Riders on Metro-North, the nation's second largest commuter railroad, have faced several disruptions in 2013. Despite the problems, the railroad's on-time performance is in line with large commuter train systems around the country. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) | AP

HARTFORD, Conn. — Commuter rail service between New Haven and New York City will likely be fully restored a week earlier than expected, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Monday.

Following a conference call with Metro-North Railroad and Metropolitan Transit Authority officials, Malloy said the electric feeder cable problem that's disrupted the heavily used rail line is expected to be fixed by Oct. 7. After testing, service is expected to resume Oct. 7 or Oct. 8, earlier than the initial Oct. 14 prediction.

Electric utility Consolidated Edison on Monday confirmed the expected Oct. 7 restoration date.

Meanwhile, temporary transformers were being added and one more train could be added soon, possibly on Tuesday, Malloy said.

"We're getting back to some level of normalcy," said the governor, who thanked commuters for their patience. Rail service was disrupted Wednesday when a circuit failed in Mount Vernon, N.Y.

Malloy said Metro-North service was running at about 50 percent of regular train capacity on Monday, but actual ridership was higher than 50 percent because at least 1,000 people stood for the commute.

As of 8:30 a.m., he said there were 13,400 riders, compared with a normal day of 17,900 commuters.

Malloy announced that the MTA Board had scheduled a special meeting on Tuesday to consider approving a credit for customers of Metro-North's New Haven line, something the governor has demanded. Many Connecticut riders pay for monthly and weekly tickets for the commuter service.

"Approving a refund to commuters isn't just the right thing to do – it's what they need to do," said Malloy, adding how residents should be reimbursed as quickly as possible.

Malloy has criticized the railroad for having only one line feeding power to the system. He said he has directed Connecticut's Department of Transportation commissioner to ask the MTA and Metro-North to study the reliability of one-line feeds and the implications in the wake of last week's disruption.

"I don't want to see that happen anywhere else on the line and certainly don't want to see it happen in Connecticut," he said. "I think they're going to have to develop a new protocol so that we don't have one-line feeds ever again on the system."

Also on Monday, Con Edison said the power failure last week may have been related to a routine safety procedure used during upgrade work for Metro-North. The utility said the insulating oil for the backup line may have been accidentally frozen by workers freezing the line taken out of service for the upgrade.

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