When it comes to commuting, Stamford resident Jules Naudet counts his blessings. "I've been very lucky," said Naudet, an independent filmmaker who travels into New York City every day. He usually boards an express Metro-North train from Stamford shortly after 10 a.m.
"There was a 10-minute delay this [Wednesday] morning, but [otherwise] everything was running quite smoothly. I was quite surprised."
Naudet seemed to be in the minority Wednesday. "The last couple of weeks (the train ride) here and then the way home, has been a nightmare," said Matt Frye, an equity trader and New York City resident who commutes to Greenwich daily. "But what can you do?"
Some commuters relying on the Metro North New Haven Line may have to adjust their routines after recent storms caused downed wires and equipment shortages.
"The extreme weather causes the electronic and air systems on our 40-year-old plus New Haven Line fleet to fail," MTA officials said in a statement.
Riding conditions have become uncomfortable for passengers on the New Haven Line like Caroline Driscoll. "The trains are overcrowded, there's no heat, they're never on time and sometimes they cancel trains without saying anything," said Driscoll, a Pilates instructor in Greenwich who lives in New York City and commutes daily. "A lot of times it's standing room only on the trains before you even leave Grand Central. It's pretty poor, and sometimes I end up getting in two hours late."
New Haven Line passengers are looking at 20- to 25-minute delays and packed cars on all trains this week. Nearly half of its train cars are out of service. Problems include frozen brakes, doors jammed by ice and traction motors that need to be replaced. A passenger who was on a packed train from New Canaan last week posted a video of a door wide open with people standing inches away while passing through Harlem.
"There are no quick fixes," the MTA said in its statement.
Employees will be working around the clock making repairs and replacing parts in an effort to have the cars up and running as soon as possible. With the shortage of cars, the MTA said, "We are forced to decide whether we can operate all our trains with less cars or whether we must cancel trains. Unfortunately, this week we will have to do both."
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Your fellow Fairfield County train riders also are speaking out about Metro-North. To see more stories, click on the headlines below:
Weather, Delays Aggravate New Canaan Metro-North Riders
New Canaan Train Riders Endure Tree Delay
Be part of the conversation: How do you cope with train problems on the New Haven Line?