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Signaling Glitch Halts Metro-North Trains

by Thomas MacMillan | Jan 23, 2014 10:46 pm

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Posted to: Transportation

Victoria McEvoy hopped on a 7:56 p.m. train out of New Haven, expecting to be in Grand Central Station by 10 p.m. Over two hours later, she was still on an unmoving train—just like every other Metro-North rider in New York and Connecticut.

All Metro-North trains were at “a standstill” on all lines, due to “system-wide signal problems,” according to a notice posted on the Metro-North website at 9:10 p.m.

“All trains are at a standstill until the railroad can troubleshoot the computers in itsĀ Operations Control Center to identify the problem,” read a brief announcement.

At 9:48 p.m., Metro-North announced service had been restored, but that passengers should expect “significant residual delays.”

McEvoy said her train started moving at just after 10:10 p.m.

Metro-North officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

McEvoy, speaking by phone at about 9:30 p.m. from a Metro-North car on the tracks outside Union Station, said she and her sister, visiting from St. Louis, got on the train at 7:45 p.m., expecting the train to leave at 7:56 p.m.

At around 8, when the train still wasn’t moving, McEvoy said to her sister, “This doesn’t happen.”

Ten minutes later, an announcement came over the loudspeaker, offering no information other than that the train would move when an unidentified problem was resolved. Ten minutes later, the same message. And again, 10 minutes later.

“We’re looking at each other, like, ‘Really?’” McEvoy said.

She said a conductor eventually informed her that all trains in New York and Connecticut had been stopped by a computer glitch.

McEvoy, who lives in New Haven, said some people had gotten off the train, but she was staying on because she needed to get to New York for a work obligation. She said she didn’t want to miss the train when it finally starts to move. “We need to get to New York tonight.”

“Quite a few people are staying on,” McEvoy said. “There are a lot of full seats in this car. I would say most people are hanging in.”

She said people were “working on their devices” or reading or talking on the phone.

McEvoy said she hadn’t been able to learn anything more about the malfunction. “Some time in that 7 o’clock hour something went dreadfully wrong.”

Just before 10 p.m., after Metro-North’s announcement that service had been restored, McEvoy said her train hadn’t moved.

“The proof is in the moving train, and we’re not getting that,” she said.

At 10:13 p.m., McEvoy said the train was on its way. “We are apparently in motion and hopefully we’ll stay that way.”

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