Commutes changed following Friday's derailment
Published 12:56 pm, Monday, May 20, 2013
Significant delays were expected along the Metro-North New Haven line following a major derailment that left 72 injured in Bridgeport on Friday, May 17, but the 9:50 a.m. train came on schedule in Darien Monday morning.
That doesn't mean, however, that people weren't forced to change their morning commutes.
Thibodeau knew there were busses available to other stations closer to the city, but chose to drive to the Darien station, which he said is "not the most heavily used."
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Twice a week, Thibodeau makes the three-hour commute to Brooklyn College. He'll only be making the commute once this week, but his it will extend to a four-and-a-half-hour commute as a result of the increased cars on the road.
Normally, what happens on Metro-North doesn't affect Alex Hernandez-Brun, who goes into the city about once a month -- it just happened to be that Monday was the day he needed to go into the city to meet with a client.
"I decided to take a later train because I heard people were being bussed all over the place," Hernandez-Brun said.
Others took the derailment as an opportunity to criticize the railroad maintenance and systems in the country.
"The US trains are significantly worse than anywhere else I've ever been," said Michael Jacobson, who currently lives in Sydney, Australia, but is visiting the States.
Jacobson said the train system in other countries such as England, Japan and Australia are "outstanding," and that the trains run so smoothly that it's "like you're sitting in your living room."
"These trains are so rickety rocky that I'm surprised there aren't more accidents," Jacobson said. "This should have an impact beyond the people who are inconvenienced."
Jacobson added that investing in trains is important for the country and that they reduce the carbon footprint.
"What percentage of (train commuters) are now sitting the roads and increasing the carbon impact," Jacobson said.
He said that he hopes that the derailment, which left 72 injured, would open a broader discussion about the impact of train and improving their infrastructures.
Commuters were given the opportunity to take buses from Bridgeport to Stamford, Westport or Fairfield where they could take the train from there.
On Sunday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy encouraged commuters to work from home if they had the ability to do so.
However, many people opted to drive into work instead, creating greater congestion on the southbound highways.
State transportation officials said traffic on Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway was at a crawl Monday morning, with the trip between Bridgeport and Stamford estimated at about an hour during the height of the rush hour. The trip normally takes about 25 minutes.
Officials said Friday's collision impacts about 30,000 people who normally use the train.
Metro-North officials expected it would be days before train service was restored as crews worked around the clock to rebuild 2,000 feet of track, overhead wires and signals. Inspections and tests also must be completed before service can return to normal, Metro-North President Howard Permut said. The damaged rail cars were removed from the tracks on Sunday, the first step toward making the repairs.
Investigators are looking at a broken section of rail to see if it is connected to the derailment and collision. Officials said it wasn't clear if the rail was broken in the crash or earlier.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived Saturday and are expected to be on site for seven to 10 days. They will look at the brakes and performance of the trains, the condition of the tracks, crew performance and train signal information, among other things.
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