New Canaan Metro-North snow bound
This year, New Canaan commuters may have suffered the worst of winter's wrath. After countless delays thanks to the snow, not to mention a derailment nearly two weeks ago, Metro-North has now cut 10 percent of its service on the New Haven Line because of their malfunctioning trains. New Canaan in particular lost two trains in the afternoon during peak hours. This current schedule is expected to run till March 4.
Metro-North President Howard Permut said despite round-the-clock efforts to keep the railroad's aging fleet of cars in running order, the service cuts are necessary because the state's aging M-2, M-4, and M-6 cars were in terrible shape after a harsh January of record snowfalls.
Eliminated service is to be restored when the railroad catches up with the backlog of weather-related damage to the New Haven line fleet, Permut said.
With the new schedule and recent issues, commuters are sharing their horror stories about their snow bound trains.
"My best Metro-North story is getting on the 9:07 p.m. out of Grand Centeral, delayed 40 minutes with a potentially derailed train ahead of us, then arriving in Stamford with no New Canaan connection in sight and no one from Metro-North to give info," New Canaan resident John Goodwin said. "I stood in a 20-minute line to share a taxi and was rewarded with a taxi devoid of treads in the tires!"
With the elimination of the 5:08 p.m. express train to New Canaan, the 5:29 p.m. run was more packed than usual, passengers said, though some found a silver lining if they looked hard enough.
As many as a dozen people who were too late to get seats jammed the car vestibules on the train, with additional passengers spilling over into the aisles.
Carpi, 46, said the shortage of seats was unpleasant, though he said New Canaan riders get first dibs on seats on morning trains, faring better than passengers from Glenbrook and Springdale.
"I hate to complain, because there are worse ways to commute, but it is a real pain in the neck," Carpi said. "I would just say it was poor planning, but at this point I'll be happy to see new trains."
Many other commuters agree with Capri. They feel as if they understand the problems but are nevertheless aggravated by all the issues.
"Obviously the service being reduced is a fairly big problem," Joseph Giannico, a New Canaan commuter, said. "The environment on the trains is now an issue. There are not enough seats. I get it, but it is frustrating."
While many of the commuters understand, they are all also waiting for the arrival of new trains. The constant delay of the new M-8 fleet of trains is not helping the situation.
Two weeks ago, at an oversight hearing, state Department of Transportation Commissioner Jeffrey Parker told lawmakers on the Connecticut General Assembly's Transportation Committee the state is aiming for the first set of M-8 cars to debut in late February, though he stopped short of a guarantee.
Ryan Thom, of New Canaan, said that he thinks Metro-North's performance has been creditable given the difficulty keeping the 1970s-era M-2 cars in working order after January's record snowfalls.
"They gave a pretty reasonable explanation about the snow breaking the old equipment but I can't wait to get the new trains," Thom said. "In a way I chalk it up as being just another mild inconvenience on a mass transit system."
So until the new fleet arrives, all New Canaanites can do is whether the storm, as they have been doing for the past month.
"It's difficult to fight mother nature," Joe Bailey, a New Canaan commuter said. "It seems to me that everyone is doing the best they possibly can. All I can say is that spring is right around the corner."
-- Staff Writer Martin B. Cassidy contributed to this story.