Jane Logan and her brother Richard Hylinski sat in a the crowded Stamford train station Sunday waiting for the 3:03 p.m. local on their way to a long-planned visit to the 2013 Westminster Kennel Club dog show.
Logan, a Woodstock resident, said they almost waited until Monday to travel to New York City, but decided to slug it out to get to Stamford to avoid a crush of commuters vying for parking and seats during stripped-down service on Monday.
"We were going to leave from New Haven, but without any service we came down here," Logan said. "I'm sure it will be a madhouse tomorrow."
After running a limited schedule Saturday and Sunday between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal, Metro-North announced Sunday evening it would run about half the normal trains between New Haven to Stamford during Monday's morning rush hour, with full regular service from Stamford west to Grand Central Terminal. Rail service on the New Canaan and Danbury branch lines was restored, while busing will be in effect for the Waterbury branch line.
A full schedule of changes was to be released by Metro-North Sunday night at mta.info.
Connecticut Transit also expected to run regular bus service in Stamford, general manager David Lee said, though some roads may remain impassable.
Workers continued to try to clear deep snow from rail yards in New Haven and Bridgeport Sunday, and uncover and clean track switches and other right-of-way equipment, according to the railroad.
The railroad was hit by 36 inches of snow in some areas, according to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
Malloy shut down service late Friday night at the height of the blizzard, resuming limited service Saturday afternoon from Stamford to Grand Central.
Salvatore Arena, a spokesman for Metro-North, said the staggered restoration of the service on the New Haven Line was due to right-of-way issues and difficulty assembling enough trains for regular service because of the snowbound rail cars at the New Haven Rail maintenance facility and yards in Bridgeport.
The blizzard's impact farther east on the line has kept a significant number of engineers and conductors in the New Haven area who operate the trains from getting to work, Arena said.
"Obviously, they are working to get the equipment out of the yards and make it available for tomorrow," Arena said early Sunday afternoon. "There is also the issue of crews, with many of our employees being impacted by the storm and in some cases not able to report to work."
Amtrak also restored partial service between New York and Boston Sunday afternoon.
Some riders in Stamford trying to reach Bridgeport and farther east said they hoped for restoration earlier Sunday.
Harvey Cain, from Bronx, N.Y., boarded a train to head back home after waiting four hours for a train or bus heading toward New Haven. A taxi going to New Haven would have cost him $137.
"I didn't look at the news this morning, but I thought it would be coming back," Cain said. "I'm just going to have to give up and go home."
Rebecca Weis, of Killingworth, and her two children were picked up by her husband outside the Stamford station. The three left for New York from the Guilford station on the Shoreline East line Friday because a performance at Carnegie Hall by her son on Saturday afternoon was not canceled.
"Now I think they should have canceled it," Weis said. "My husband told me the drive today had been horrible, and he is from Albany, so he knows about driving in the snow."
Michael Morley, a New Canaan resident and financial executive who travels on the branch line, said Sunday if service was not restored he would need to drive to White Plains, N.Y., to catch a train for an employee training session at his company.
"I really need to be there," he said.
On Monday, Metro-North will continue to run a regular schedule on the Hudson and Harlem lines.
Stamford schools will have a 90-minute delayed opening Monday, and parents are advised that some buses may run late because of remaining snow and ice on roads.
Jim Cameron, chairman of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, said limited service from New Haven and Bridgeport was better than none at all, but riders in southern Connecticut should expect crowded conditions and full parking lots in Stamford and other nearby stations.
Cameron said some might avoid unexpected delays by traveling from the White Plains, N.Y., station on the Harlem line, which honors New Haven Line tickets, and has relatively plentiful parking.
"I think it will still create pressures on Stamford because people who are at their stations in Darien and Norwalk may get tired of waiting and decide to come there," Cameron said. "I don't think it will be carmageddon, but clearly people shouldn't expect everything to be as usual."