Lack Of Investment By CT Makes It Harder To Recover From Derailment
Monday, May 20, 2013 - 05:00 PM
The state of Connecticut has been scrambling for a decade to make up for years of failing to invest in Metro-North Railroad. That's part of why the railroad has been finding it so hard to get service up and running on the New Haven Line after Friday's derailment.
In 2000, the MTA asked the Connecticut state government to contribute toward buying new train cars and overhead electrical wires. (By agreement, the authority pays 35% of the costs of operating the New Haven Line, from equipment purchases to operating expenses, while the state of Connecticut picks up the rest.) But then-governor John Rowland refused to make the investment.
The state's next governor, Jodi Rell, partly reversed that decision and in 2004 ordered dozens of new rail cars, which are only now entering into service.
But for years, the overhead electrical wires on the New Haven line have been failing in hot weather. When that happened last summer, stranding hundreds of passengers, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy agreed to spend $400 million for an upgrade.
That repair work is happening now. And that's why the two tracks left undamaged by Friday's derailment cannot easily be pressed back into service. To make matters even more costly, both the overhead wires and rail cars damaged by the derailment were brand new.
The MTA says it now expects to be back to full service on the line by Wednesday morning, four and a half days after the derailment. In the meantime, here are the details on various forms of alternative train and bus service.