Malloy: Metro-North Outage Was "Totally Avoidable"

Jan 24, 2014

MTA signal maintainers clearing switches after a snowfall.
Credit Marc A. Hermann / MTA

Governor Dannel Malloy called Thursday night's Metro-North maintenance failure "totally avoidable." The outage brought the entire network of commuter trains to a halt for just under two hours in frigid temperatures. 

"The power outage on the New Haven Line last evening was totally avoidable," Malloy said, "and frankly, unfathomable given that it occurred due to inappropriate actions on the part of Metro-North. On behalf of the thousands of Connecticut citizens who rely on this crucial rail service every day, I am outraged that any maintenance procedure would be performed on the signal control system during the peak evening commuter period."

Malloy said he expressed his anger and frustration in a call Friday morning with MTA CEO Tom Prendergast, asking "for a full explanation and an action plan to prevent any recurrence." He also "requested that the MTA hire a third-party, independent authority who can serve as an advisor when crucial maintenance decisions like these are made."

Malloy asked for a face-to-face meeting with Prendergast and Metro-North's incoming president, Joe Giullietti. 

Metro-North restored most of its service on Friday after a computer system power problem stopped trains on the New Haven, Husdson, and Harlem lines Thursday night. Trains were taken to the nearest stations, where riders were allowed to exit. Early on Friday morning, Danbury commuters had to take substitute buses to South Norwalk. 

A subsidiary of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metro-North has a contract with the Connecticut Department of Transportation. It serves 281,000 riders a day in New York and Connecticut. In the last year, the railroad has experienced a spate of problems, including a fatal derailment in December that left four people dead and more than 60 injured.

This report contains information from The Associated Press.