Norwalk officials: Stay home if you can

Metro-north derailment
Metro-North crews work to repair tracks and re-rail train cars on Sunday after two trains collided Friday at the Fairfield/Bridgeport line. (Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin.)

NORWALK, Conn. – It’s sure to be a snafu in Norwalk Monday, given the Metro-North train wreck in Bridgeport.

That’s the message being relayed one way or another by city officials and local legislators as they try to warn the populace of impending traffic jams, with 20,000 to 30,000 commuters scrambling for alternative transportation.  South Norwalk will be the westernmost point for Metro-North commuters heading into and out of Manhattan along the New Haven corridor, well into the coming week.

“To help accommodate traffic, I am asking Norwalk commuters to work from home if possible,” Mayor Richard Moccia said in a 5:52 p.m. Notify Norwalk message. “If you commute by train, please use bus transport if possible. Car pool if you must drive to the station.

“Residents who live in South Norwalk, especially in the vicinity of the Railroad Station: Please avoid driving in the area and add extra time for travel.”

He’s got another bit of advice: Avoid rush hour traffic.

“Overflow commuter parking will be available in lots close to the SoNo train station and at the Maritime Garage, but traffic congestion is anticipated,” he said.

State Rep. Gail Lavielle has some information for those wondering if the new M-8 cars are responsible for the derailment.

“Folks, I have read the following,” she posted on Facebook. “1) They don’t think it was the new cars. In fact, they are saying that it would have been much worse if the cars involved had been old. 2) They have found a defect in the tracks there, but aren’t sure enough yet to say whether definitively that was the cause. 3) They are not running trains at all west of South Norwalk, so they won’t be running trains through the spot and working on it at the same time.”

Lavielle posted this quote from Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut:

“Our crews will essentially be rebuilding two thousand feet of damaged track, and overhead wires and signal system. This amounts to the wholesale reconstruction of a two-track electrified railroad. It will take multiple days of around-the-clock work to do that, and then to inspect, test and requalify the newly rebuilt infrastructure. Unfortunately, service disruptions on this section of the New Haven Line are expected to continue well into the coming week.”

The Norwalk Police Department will be out in force, according to a Facebook post.

“NPD along with MTA Police will have additional officers available to direct traffic and assist commuters. Review the DOT and MTA websites for specific information on train and bus schedules,” the post says.

The latest press release from the Connecticut Department of Transportation:

Connecticut Commuter Service Plan in effect for Monday, May 20, and until further notice on the New Haven Rail Line.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation and Metro-North Railroad today released the following information regarding service on the New Haven commuter rail line, in the wake of the May 17 derailment in Bridgeport. The service plan requires buses in some locations.  Customers should understand that their commuting times will be considerably longer in many cases.

The following is effective Monday, May 20, and until further notice.

AM Peak to Grand Central

• A shuttle train operating approximately every 20 minutes between New Haven and Bridgeport Station

• Between Bridgeport and Stamford Stations, two bus shuttles will operate:

• Express service from Bridgeport to Stamford Station with regular train connections to Grand Central Terminal

• Local service between Bridgeport, Fairfield Metro, Fairfield and Westport Stations (no bus service from Green’s Farms and Southport Stations)

• Limited train service from Westport Station

• Regular train service from South Norwalk Station to Grand Central Terminal

AM & PM Reverse Peak/Off-Peak Service

• For the AM/PM Peak: Limited train service between Grand Central Terminal and Westport Station

• For the Off-Peak: Regular train service between Grand Central Terminal and Westport Station

• Loop bus service with connections between Bridgeport, Fairfield, Fairfield Metro and Westport Stations (no bus service from Green’s Farms and Southport Stations)

• Express buses between Bridgeport and South Norwalk

   A train shuttle operating approximately every 20 minutes between Bridgeport and New Haven Stations

PM Peak to New Haven

• Regular train service from Grand Central Terminal to South Norwalk Station

• Express bus service from South Norwalk to Bridgeport Station

• Limited train service from Grand Central Terminal to Westport Station

• Local bus shuttle service between Westport, Fairfield, Fairfield Metro and Bridgeport Stations (no bus service from Green’s Farms and Southport Stations)

• A train shuttle operating approximately every 20 minutes between Bridgeport and New Haven Stations

Regular train service will operate on the New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury Branches.

For train schedule information, please refer to the schedules page at www.mta.info or the Connecticut DOT website, www.ct.gov/dot.

Customers should know before they go:

• Travel times will be significantly longer than normal and trains will be significantly crowded

• Metro-North representatives will be at major New Haven Line (NHL) stations to assist customers

• NHL Customers east of South Norwalk are encouraged to seek alternative ways to get to and from work or stagger their work schedule

• If possible, customers are advised to use the Harlem Line as an alternative.  NHL rail tickets will be cross-honored

• ConnDOT will cross-honor NHL pre-paid rail tickets (as a temporary Bus/Rail uniticket) on I-95 Corridor Bus Service

• Metro-North will cross-honor Amtrak tickets

• Sign up for free email or text message service updates at www.mta.info

• Visit our website for periodic service updates

• Listen to the radio and television news: During any emergency, this is the fastest way to find out how train service is affected. We will continuously provide information to the media

• Call our Travel Information Center by dialing 511 and saying “Metro-North.” The Travel Information Center will be fully staffed, and there will also be a taped message describing our current service conditions. Please be aware that the volume of calls at the Travel Information Center will dramatically increase during an emergency, and you may experience delays getting through.

• At your station, listen closely for public address announcements


5 responses to “Norwalk officials: Stay home if you can”

  1. Bryan Meek

    With the amount of neglect the system has endured for decades we are very, very fortunate this wasn’t worse. If you don’t recall last summer the bridge over the Norwalk river was stuck in the upright position for half a day. Hopefully this is a wakeup call for our elected leaders who decided to build a $500 million bus highway from New Britain to Hartford for 3000 daily commuters when we have 200,000 that use this antiquated system every day.

  2. Tim T

    Yes Bryan I agree the system has endured decades of neglect
    We have seen years and years of neglect of the mass transit infrastructure by the Republicans. All while the Republicans gave massive tax breaks to the oil companies while they made record profits.

  3. Off Da Hook

    Bryan and Tim- If I have to turn this blog around, you’ll both be in trouble.
    Tim- you know that the Dems in the General Assembly have neglected the “Gold Coast’s” transportation needs due to the failure of delegations to work on a cohesive plan.
    Bryan- you know that the Republicans who have been governor haven’t helped much with the crumbling transportation infrastructure in Fairfield County.

  4. EastNorwalkChick

    OMG, an hour and a half down to my client in Greenwich and an hour and a have back on the Merritt….just for 3 hrs. worth of work…MTA buses using exit 16, (was behind 8 of them), to East Ave. to the So. Norwalk Train station….not a cop in sight directing traffic!

    Taking back roads to New Canaan tomorrow!

  5. Bryan Meek

    Off Da Hook. Where in my comments did I make this partisan? The bus highway idea was hatched under Rowland. The Democrats have been strangling the golden goose here in lower Fairfield county for over 4 decades now. There are several hardly used 4 lane highways crisscrossing Hartford. 2/3s of the state’s receipts come from this area and we get about 1/5th of the spending. The state had better start saving for the lawsuits we are going to have to pay for this latest snafu. Not to mention the millions in lost productivity of people having to sit in traffic.

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