Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Haven Deja Vu?

In the 1960s, service on the bankrupt New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, one of the largest commuter lines serving metropolitan New York, had deteriorated for the point where it had replaced the Long Island Rail Road as the region's poster child for sick railroad syndrome.

The railroad's fortunes continued to wane after it was merged into the ill-fated Penn Central and later became a part of Conrail. However, things started to improve with the formation of Metro-North, which invested heavily in improving the infrastructure. On-time percentages reached levels high enough to get your kid into an Ivy League college, and ridership soared, partly due to a burgeoning reverse commute from New York to employment centers in Stamford and Greenwich.

Now service seems to have taken a serious turn for the worse, according to the blog Station Stops:
" the past few months, its gotten MUCH worse.

2009 Metro-North New Haven Line service has just been third-worldly. Breakdowns, delays, dirty, stinky cars, short trains with no available seats - day after day I hear about it, from friends - on Twitter (follow us @stationstops ) but with a frequency like never before."

Blogger Chris maintains the problem is the result of rolling stock reaching the end of its useful life. While passenger cars purchased circa 1970 have been removed from service on the Long Island and Metro North's Hudson and Harlem lines, they still soldier on on the New Haven line. That's because Connecticut hasn't been willing to purchase new rolling stock. Perhaps Fairfield County commuters will keep that in mind the next time their governor is up for election.

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