FOR RELEASE: November 30, 2007
   TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
   Fax: (860) 594-3066
   Web site:

Governor Rell Reverses Metro-North Boarding Plan

During New Haven Line Catenary Construction

Rail Commuters Will Continue to Board in Usual Locations

                Governor M. Jodi Rell said today that Metro-North New Haven Line commuters in Fairfield County will not be required to board southbound trains to New York City on the opposite side of the tracks, as had been planned by Metro-North during an overhead wire rehabilitation and bridge replacement project.

            Instead, the contractor working on the overhead “catenary” wire project will install “bridge plates” that will allow commuters to walk from the southbound platforms across one track to board New York City-bound trains.

            “The original plan was simply unacceptable to commuters and to me,” Governor Rell said. “This is a common-sense solution that will minimize disruption for the thousands of Connecticut commuters who head into the city every day. I am pleased that the DOT and Metro-North have resolved this issue.”

            “I heard from many commuters about their concerns that the Metro-North plan would have required them to wait in the cold, without shelter or heat,” the Governor said.The heated waiting rooms on the NY-bound side would have been unused and vendors in those spaces could have suffered severe financial impacts.  Because there are no ticket machines on the New Haven bound side, commuters would also have been subject to a $5 surcharge for buying tickets on the train.”

As a result of the Governor’s directive, those issues have now been eliminated.  The Governor also directed the DOT to increase future communications about the catenary project or any other issues that could affect service on the rail line, noting that the boarding plan she reversed was announced just days before the change was due to take effect.


“There is no excuse for that kind of lack of communication and the DOT is well aware that this is not to happen again,” Governor Rell said. “The New Haven line is one of the busiest rail lines in the country and commuters rely on this service to get to their places of business. We have an obligation to ensure that the most up-to date information is provided to them in a timely manner.”

            The bridge plates have been used with great success during earlier stages of this project at Metro-North stations in South Norwalk, Rowayton and Darien, and have had no impact on on-time performance. It is anticipated that the same will be the case during this next phase of the project, when the bridge plates are installed at the Fairfield, Southport, Green’s Farms, Westport and East Norwalk stations. On-time performance will be closely monitored and any potential adjustments will be assessed on an ongoing basis.


            “Our rail commuters have had to deal with outdated equipment and cold weather difficulties in the past,” Governor Rell said. “We are in the process of making the kind of improvements that will bring them the service and equipment they deserve, but it is important to take every possible measure to minimize inconvenience throughout the construction period.”

            The contract for this project was awarded to Ducci Electrical Contractors of Torrington at a cost of $79.2 million in April of this year. It is being done in phases and is expected to be completed in August 2011. In addition to the replacement of the overhead wire system, which has been in place since the early 1900s, five bridges are being replaced – three in Bridgeport and two in Fairfield.