Connecticut rail service returning to normal

Metro North employees, in orange vests, help transfer westbound commuters at the transportation center in Bridgeport, Ct., to shuttle buses Monday, May 20, 2013. The commuters had arrived from New Haven by train and were being bused to Stamford, Ct., where rail service to New York was available. A train collision on Friday injured 72 people and disrupted rail service into New York City. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
May 22, 2013 4:37:49 AM PDT
Regular train service is returning to Connecticut, five days after a derailment injured scores of commuters and damaged tracks.

Commuter rail service from Connecticut to New York City, along with Amtrak service between Boston and New York, was scheduled to resume Wednesday morning on one of the nation's oldest and most heavily traveled railways.

Metro-North had been using buses to shuttle passengers around the affected area while the tracks were rebuilt. The operation will require a reduced speed of 30 mph for several days, which officials say is standard for new track installations.

"We recognize the critical importance of both Metro-North Railroad and Amtrak to the regional economy," Metro-North President Howard Permut said Tuesday.

The tracks have been rebuilt to current Federal Railroad Administration standards using all new materials and underwent rigorous testing, officials said. Railroad officials said the speed of the rebuilding effort was the result of hundreds of skilled people in multiple crafts working around the clock since Saturday night.

Connecticut lawmakers plan hearings about the crash on the rail network they say is in need of extensive improvements.

Members of the General Assembly's Transportation Committee said they have been briefed by state transportation officials over the years about the hefty investment Connecticut needs to make to fully upgrade the commuter rail line, including a couple of 100-year-old bridges that need to be replaced.

The Metro-North crash at rush hour Friday evening injured 72 people, including one who remained in critical condition Tuesday. It snarled commutes for roughly 30,000 people who normally use the train, forcing travelers to navigate a patchwork of cars, trains and buses.

Some commuters used a shuttle train that ran between New Haven and Bridgeport, where a bus connection to Stamford circumvented the accident scene, and finally customers boarded a train for New York.


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