Tag Archives: Metro-North Railroad

Locomotive collides with passenger train at Grand Central

A locomotive at the safety-challenged Metro-North railroad went through a red light this morning and swiped a train with passengers on it at Grand Central, sources said. The train had originated in Poughkeepsie.

No one was hurt because the locomotive was going under 10 mph when the collision happened at 11:30 a.m., officials said.

The train reversed itself back to Grand Central, except for two cars which were detached from the train for the investigation. About twenty passengers in those cars walked up to the other four cars.

It had been switching from one track to another when it happened.

It happened at the north end of the station’s track complex, about a mile from its concourse.

A Metro-North spokesman said the incident is under investigation.

In December 2013, an engineer from the railroad dozed off and derailed a train in the Bronx, killing four people.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the railroad for five accidents, including that derailment.

Metro-North has tried to overhaul its safety culture by putting less of an emphasis on its on-time performance and hiring a new president.


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Metro-North Railroad Operations Center

Buried away “somewhere” near Grand Central is the Metro-North Railroad Operations Center. Not only did it replace a half-dozen signal towers in and around Grand Central Terminal, but it controls the three main lines: Poughkeepsie, Brewster and New Haven PLUS all those smaller lines like New Canaan. Quite an undertaking.

Yes I know they are not perfect yet, but they are trying.

One of the best sources of pictures and articles about the Operations Center is an independent WebSite called I Ride The Harlem Line. They even cover night-time operations.

A little about “ I Ride The Harlem Line”

 My name is Emily, though I am known by many who ride the train simply as Cat Girl, for the hats I customarily wear during the winter time. I am a graphic designer, a Metro North train rider, and a person that has always been interested in history. For the past 4 years I’ve been a regular commuter, though I’ve been a Harlem Line rider all my life. This site is a collection of my usually train-related thoughts, observations, photographs, and travels, as well as my never-ending hunt for intriguing historical artifacts. 


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Lift Bridge for Metro-North Trains Is Getting Big Repairs

In 1954, the Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in public schools. The Senate censured Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, whose scowling rants about Communist subversion had prompted witch hunts. The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville advised a skinny young truck driver named Elvis Presley to stay behind the wheel.

And a baby-blue railroad bridge was changing the landscape between Manhattan and the Bronx. By its completion a couple of years later, it would ease the ride for suburbanites commuting to Cheever country and long-haul passengers reveling in the red-carpet treatment on the Twentieth Century Limited, a train so famous that it played a supporting role in the Alfred Hitchcock classic “North by Northwest.”

Now the bridge is getting considerably more than a face-lift — a top-to-bottom overhaul that has a price tag of $47.2 million and involves installing new cables to raise and lower the 340-foot-long track sections. Also scheduled are a new electrical control system, new wiring and new power-supply equipment for the third rail on the tracks.

Read More About this Bridge

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Funding to Fix Walk Bridge on Metro-North

The notorious Walk Bridge over the Norwalk River, which snarled Metro-North Railroad traffic twice earlier this year after it got stuck in the open position, is set for a $3 million repair job.

The State Bond Commission on Friday approved the funding, ensuring the bridge will be returned to operational status before $360 million in federal money can be secured for a replacement.

The  Connecticut Post elaborated more on the story

“One malfunctioning bridge can disrupt the whole Northeast Corridor,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who chairs the bond commission.

“We approved $3 million to repair the bridge and restore automation, and we are implementing these repairs until full replacement of the Walk Bridge can occur,” Malloy said. “We are waiting to hear from our request for federal funding.”

The state money will pay for work on devices that lift the rails and reseat them and other improvements to restore automated operation of the bridge. The bridge swings open over the Norwalk River to allow boats to pass under and pedestrians to cross the waterway.

The bridge caused huge delays and headaches for Metro-North riders after it twice got stuck in the open position in May and again in June. Trains could not pass, backing up rail traffic across Connecticut and beyond. The bridge has since been opened manually only when necessary.

After the latest malfunction, Malloy put together a team of engineers to figure out a solution. The team this week released a report outlining a series of modifications over the next nine months to improve operating systems and reliability of the bridge.

“The New Haven Line is the busiest commuter rail line in America,” Malloy said. “Because our customers — and our economy — rely on this system every day, we are implementing these fixes to increase reliability in the near term until the full replacement of the Walk Bridge can begin.”

When the bridge malfunctions: Routes on either side of South Norwalk are closed as repair crews worked to fix the problem, but Metro-North expect that the repairs might take several hours. MTA officials and police also responded to assist with the crowds, police said. Twenty-four buses were sent from the Bronx to transport passengers between South Norwalk and East Norwalk, according to Metro-North. Trains are scheduled to run between Grand Central and South Norwalk and between East Norwalk and New Haven. Amtrak service on both the Northeast regional and Acela lines are also affected, holding trains at Penn Station for several hours.


A Final Toast For Metro North’s Bar Cars


New York Times sort of summed it up on May 10, 2014: Since before World War II, when rail was king and Prohibition was dead, the rolling saloon has been a national staple — its contents relied upon to make the strangers less strange, the commutes less interminable. But over the years, the bar cars began to disappear: Chicago, one of the last holdouts, abandoned its bar service in 2008.

We wrote about bar cars before then even more about bar cars

Connecticut can and cannot afford, it’s well known that this is a service that more than pays for itself. In the 1960s, the bankrupt New Haven had exactly one line of black ink on its ledgers:  commuter bar cars!  I can’t think of any reason why the economics of this are any different today.

The commuter bar cars were a post-war phenomenon. The New Haven began operating them in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Supposedly Wilfred Duprey, the NH’s dining car department superintendent, got the idea after observing the crowds of drinkers in grill cars employed on special excursion trains. However, in the early 1930s the New Haven operated what was known as a “breakfast bar car” for commuters. This car operated on morning trains running between Stamford and GCT. It may have actually served as the inspiration for the evening commuter bar cars. Regardless, it was the alcoholic beverages served in the commuter bar cars that kept the NH’s dining car service marginally profitable through the end, which is something that no other “modern” railroad was able to do.

Quote from Marc J. Frattasio Feb 18