trains

Flodigrip's world / Flickr Creative Commons

It's been a rough and frustrating year for Metro-North commuters. Aside from the derailment in Bridgeport and the power outage in September, the service has been slower and less reliable than usual. On a recent episode of Where We Live, we heard many suggestions from our guests and listeners on how to make Metro-North better.

Listen to the recent episode of Where We Live on Metro-North.

Sean Marshall / Creative Commons

It’s been a rough year for Connecticut’s commuter rail line. From the derailment in Bridgeport to the extended power outage, Metro-North commuters have had headache after headache. So what can we do to improve the rail system and get people to and from New York City safely and on time?

National Transportation Safety Board

The National Transportation Safety Board began an investigative hearing today on two Metro-North Railroad accidents in Connecticut earlier year. On May 17 in Bridgeport, an east-bound train derailed, and was struck by a west-bound train, injuring 73 passengers, two engineers and a conductor. Later in the month, a track foreman was struck and killed by a train in West Haven.

On Monday, a congressional field hearing was held in Bridgeport to discuss ways to improve Metro-North railroad service after a power failure impacted thousands of commuters last month. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal organized the hearing. He said inadequate management and insufficient funding in infrastructure led to the the breakdown in service September 25.

It is still as dark as night as Jim Rix steps out of his red brick Chicago bungalow and gets into his car, parked on the street. It's 6 a.m., and the 53-year-old engineer is getting an early start on his 35-mile commute out to Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago's southwest suburbs.

"Depending upon weather and time of day, it can take 45 minutes to two hours to get to and from work," Rix says.

Senator Richard Blumenthal is chairing a hearing in Bridgeport on the recent Metro-North power outage. The hearing is examining the causes of the outage, how to prevent such failures from reoccurring, and the economic impact of such a major service disruption. It's hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security.

Mark Fischer / Flickr Creative Commons

Ridership on Amtrak is up for the year, the company reported, despite the disruptions in service during and after Sandy. Amtrak transported a record 31.6 million riders in the past year ending September 30, and made a record $2.1 billion in ticket sales.

Connor Harris / Creative Commons

The Metropolitan Transit Authority says Metro-North's New Haven line is back to full service today. The nation's second largest commuter rail line has been crippled since September 25, when a high voltage power feeder cable failed.

Connor Harris / Creative Commons

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted unanimously Tuesday to credit Metro-North New Haven Line customers who have been inconvenienced by the ongoing disruption in service. Riders must have monthly or weekly tickets between Connecticut and New York City that were valid during the power outage.

Connor Harris / Creative Commons

After a power failure crippled the New Haven line of the Metro-North Railroad last Wednesday, service is slowly improving. Governor Dannel Malloy said it won't be until next week that the power situation is fixed. He also said the railroad has been able to get about 50 percent of its trains running.

Banfield / Wikimedia Commons

With Metro-North service still only running at 50 percent of normal capacity, Connecticut commuters are entering a second week of delays and challenges getting to work. Being a regular Metro-North commuter frequently calls for ingenuity. Last week's electrical failure left many searching once again for a Plan B.

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy said he wants Metro-North Railroad to pay Connecticut customers for tickets they can't use as a result of the service outage. The power failure along an eight-mile section of the New Haven line has frustrated commuters and politicians alike. Officials said it could take weeks to repair.

Nazox / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut has been dancing around the idea of keno for a while now. The state made another move across the room to commit some spending that would help to bring keno to hundreds of locations in the state. Meanwhile, the bond commission is working to get Bass Pro Shops in place in Bridgeport, and miserable commuters continue to cope with a broken Metro-North. Read about it in today's Wheelhouse Digest.

JoeJoeJoe93 / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy met with railroad and utility officials at New York's Grand Central Station Thursday to discuss the disruption of rail service for tens of thousands of commuters on the Metro-North and Amtrak lines, the Associated Press reports.

WNPR

Metro-North's New Haven rail line is disrupted this morning because of a failed commercial power cable. At the state's emergency operations center in Hartford on Wednesday, Governor Dannel Malloy said it could be weeks before Metro-North is back to full strength.

Melissa Bailey / NewHavenIndependent.org

You may have noticed this morning that I-84 near the Connecticut-New York border will be shut down temporarily this weekend, while a bridge is repaired. That got us thinking at The Wheelhouse Digest about other ways to get around. What you need to know now is a little bit of transportation news from around the state.

Urban explorer Steve Duncan goes underground, examining the hidden infrastructure of major cities all over the world: their tunnels, subways and sewers. Late in 2010, NPR's Jacki Lyden joined Duncan and a group of subterranean adventurers in New York. (This story originally aired on All Things Considered on Jan. 2, 2011.)

First Lawsuit Filed After Metro-North Crash

May 30, 2013

As the investigation into last Friday’s train crash continues, victims are starting to come forward. The first lawsuit against the Metro-North Railroad Company was filed in federal court today.

65-year-old Elizabeth Sorensen of Mystic was on the Eastbound train going from New York City to New Haven last Friday when it derailed and was struck by a train going in the other direction. She was thrown violently around the rail car and suffered severe multiple fractures and brain trauma.

Americans' Driving Habits are Shifting

May 23, 2013

Last Friday’s train crash showed the need for more investment in mass transit in Connecticut. In addition, new data reveals that Americans’ driving habits are changing, especially among younger people. Transportation advocates say it’s time for planners and governments to change their priorities.

As bad as the traffic may be on your way to work, Abe Scarr has some news for you.

“The driving boom is over.”

Monday's Commute: Carmageddon Avoided

May 23, 2013

Metro-North railroad has announced it will restore full service to the New Haven line on Wednesday. While many commuters heeded pleas to avoid rush hour travel on Monday, some didn’t have a choice or decided to brave it anyway -- including me. 

Monday's Commute: Carmageddon Avoided

May 23, 2013

Metro-North railroad has announced it will restore full service to the New Haven line on Wednesday. While many commuters heeded pleas to avoid rush hour travel on Monday, some didn’t have a choice or decided to brave it anyway -- including me. 

Neena Satija

For many commuters, Friday evening's ride on Metro-North was uneventful at first.

“The train was moving along, I guess there was no reason to suspect anything," said Frank Bilotti to the New Haven Register. "Everybody was just daydreaming and passing the time away and all of a sudden, there was a sudden crash. So there’s no warning, no sirens, no whistles or anything.”

Troy David Johnston/flickr creative commons

Facts change all the time. Smoking has gone from doctor recommended to deadly. We used to think the Earth was the center of the universe and that Pluto was a planet. For decades, we were convinced that the brontosaurus was a real dinosaur. In short, what we know about the world is constantly changing. But it turns out there’s an order to the state of knowledge, an explanation for how we know what we know. Samuel Arbesman is an expert in the field of scientometrics—literally the science of science, and he’ll join us to look at The Half-Life of Facts.

Sean Marshall / Creative Commons

Officials from towns in Fairfield and New Haven counties got a crash course on transit oriented development.

Roger Reynolds is the senior staff attorney for the Connecticut Fund for the Environment. He helped create the toolkit and he gave us a crash course on TOD.

Reynolds says taking a TOD will create more of a community and use the resources that we already have.

A Night to Remember

Mar 29, 2013

Steam power captivated the popular imagination in the nineteenth century. Regular steam navigation on the Connecticut River dates back to the early 1820s. Hartford and New York were linked by steamers whenever the river was ice free, typically from March through November of each year.

The Thanksgiving Commute

Nov 27, 2012

42 million people drove to visit family and friends during Thanksgiving weekend. WNPR’s Neena Satija joined them this year, but before leaving, she paid a visit to the state department of transportation to get the insider’s guide to holiday traffic. 

Dru Nadler

I don’t normally think of commuting as an adventure. But it did seem a little like one yesterday morning as people got word that they could finally take the train from Stamford into Manhattan once again. Trumbull resident Brian Keane usually commutes from Westport into the city. Today, he drove to Stamford’s train station – and was ready for a little adventure when it came to parking.

“I actually have a bike in my car, because I figured if there wasn’t any parking, I’d park up on Bedford Street and bike down," he told me.

Rant & Rail: The Hassle of Train Tickets

Oct 24, 2012
DanTD / Creative Commons

As traffic on the highways gets worse, and gas prices rise, more people are shedding their cars. But using alternatives like trains and buses won’t always get you where you need to go.

Rant & Rail: When's My Next Train?

Oct 15, 2012
WalkingGeek / Flickr Creative Commons

As traffic on the highways gets worse, and gas prices rise, more people are shedding their cars. But using alternatives like trains and buses won’t always get you where you need to go. Reporter Neena Satija is kicking off a new series on WNPR and the Connecticut Mirror called “Rant & Rail.” Today, she explores how we find out when the next train is leaving the station.

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Another $121 million in federal funding has been committed to a high-speed rail project linking New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield.  As WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports, Governor Dannel Malloy was in Meriden for the announcement.

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