70 Injured In Train Crash; City Braces For Monday Gridlock

WTNH PhotoGet ready for a traffic mess in New Haven Monday, as Metro-North service will likely remain shut down due to Friday evening’s derailment and collision.

The number of people injured in the Friday evening crash on the New Haven line rose to at least 70 Saturday; one of the two trains in the collision was the 5:35 p.m. out of New Haven.

U.S. Sen. Dick Blumenthal said Saturday that “safety features” in the modernized Metro-North cars and improved standards “saved lives” in the crash.

He drew a lesson from that: “These and other investments in upgrading public services are consequential. Safe and reliable rail service is a key priority for our economy.”

Meanwhile, officials in New Haven updated preparations for what was already promising to be a traffic headache day, the annual Yale graduation. With Metro-North shut down, many visitors to the event will have to drive into New Haven rather than take the train. Plus, this year graduation falls on a work day (as opposed to Memorial Day), so normal business traffic will figure into the mix as well.

Yale Vice-President Kimberly Goff-Crews sent out this information via email:

“We know that many individuals who had planned to take the train to Commencement will now be driving. The Pierson-Sage Garage on the corner of Whitney and Edwards Street will provide free parking, and shuttle buses will be available from that garage to the Old Campus where the University-wide commencement ceremony will be held.

“The Connecticut Department of Transportation is working to assess the situation and we will post any updates to our Commencement website. The University has created a Facebook page to facilitate ride-sharing arrangements for those seeking to share a ride to campus. The Commencement website provides a link to this Facebook page, and we will also provide updates as more information about transportation becomes available.”

Click here to read the CT Mirror’s Neena Satija’s coverage of Saturday’s developments.

An earlier version of this story follows:

Train service out of New Haven has been suspended Saturday until further notice, after a train leaving New Haven collided with another train in Bridgeport, injuring 60.

A 5:35 p.m. Metro-North train from New Haven collided with an oncoming train just east of the Fairfield Metro station at 6:10 p.m. Friday, injuring 60 people, five of them seriously, according to the Hartford Courant. The oncoming train jumped off the tracks.

The collision created “extensive infrastructure damage” to two train tracks on the New Haven Line, according to a statement issued by Metro-North Railroad. “Both the track and the overhead wire have been damaged. The train cars cannot be removed until the on-scene investigation is complete, and they will need to be removed by crane.”

The New Haven Line has two more tracks, but those “are out of service for a long-term project to replace overhead wires,” the agency reported.

Metro-North trains won’t be running between New Haven and South Norwalk until further notice, Metro-North announced Saturday.

Trains will be running on “reduced, hourly service” between South Norwalk Station and Grand Central Terminal. They will run on a regular schedule between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal. Yankee game-day service will run between Stamford and Yankee stadium. Click here for train schedule info.

“Normal service through this area is not expected to resume until a full investigation is complete, the infrastructure is fully assessed, and repairs are made,” the agency said.

Click here for updates.

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posted by: Christopher Schaefer on May 19, 2013  10:34am

Rosa DeLauro, never missing the opportunity to turn tragedy into a political campaign moment, is calling for “swift action” re. the Metro North derailment—giving uninformed voters the false impression that she somehow has the ability to hasten the National Transportation and Safety Board’s investigation or MTA’s subsequent repairs. How long will voters continue to be fooled by her mindless, insensitive blather?

posted by: TheMadcap on May 19, 2013  2:44pm

Right, I’m gonna vote for the represenative that instead just shrugs and says “Whatever” vs calling doing an obligatory call for action