Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) will undertake a $10 million project to upgrade the power supply for Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven Line beginning on Monday, February 3. The project will prevent the type of catastrophic power failure that occurred this past fall in Mount Vernon, New York, seriously disrupting service on the New Haven Line.
Governor Malloy also announced his plans to meet face-to-face with the incoming President of Metro-North, Joe Giulietti, and Thomas F. Prendergast, chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Metro-North’s parent agency, on February 13 to discuss his concerns about the operation of the New Haven Line.
“The New Haven Line is the busiest single rail line in the country and, each day, takes more than 60,000 travelers off of our already congested highways,” said Governor Malloy. “In anticipation of adding even more service on this state owned rail corridor, we want to ensure riders have as safe and reliable a commute as possible and prevent the major system interruptions that we experienced in September.”
Metro-North operates the New Haven Line under a contract with ConnDOT and will manage the project in conjunction with Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P). CL&P has been contracted to do this critical work and will install new transformers to replace four aging transformers at Cos Cob, in Greenwich, to ensure reliability and safe operation of the electric supply that powers New Haven Line trains. This will implement redundant power for this portion of the New Haven Line and increase the power supply by almost doubling the capacity of the two west transformers from 16 megawatts to 30 megawatts and matching the capacity of the two east transformers that have already been replaced.
“Connecticut and Metro-North have a strong partnership and a serious commitment to providing a safe and reliable service and ever-improving customer service and communications,” said the MTA’s Prendergast of the upcoming meeting. “Connecticut has made tremendous investments in our rail infrastructure in recent years thanks to Governor Malloy. Joe Giulietti and I look forward to this meeting, which will give all of us a chance to discuss challenges and opportunities for the thousands of customers we serve every day.”
At the state’s direction, Metro-North has prepared detailed project management and contingency plans to the project’s success, including complete substitute service plans in the event of any power issues. Metro-North and CL&P have developed an accelerated schedule for replacement of the two transformers. Replacement of the first transformer will begin February 3 and is expected to be completed within 16 days. Replacement of the second transformer will begin immediately thereafter and be finished by mid-March.
“Because of lessons learned by Metro-North during a serious disruption to New Haven Line service last fall during a power upgrade to the power supply at Mount Vernon, the work at Cos Cob is being done in stages and a comprehensive contingency plan has been developed,” said Metro-North Senior Vice President for Operations John Kesich. “When completed, the new power capacity will allow for the future growth of rail service on the line.”
Since the work is being done in stages, only one transformer is being replaced at a time. While the first transformer is de-energized for replacement, the tie-in will connect the east and west substations together to provide service. The second, back-up emergency transformer will be fully active and on standby.
“The implementation of this project is designed to prevent a disruption of service similar to one caused by a Con Edison power outage in Mount Vernon last fall,” said ConnDOT Commissioner James Redeker. “Both CL&P and Metro-North have partnered to ensure a successful project for New Haven Line customers.”
Metro-North’s New Haven Line is the busiest single rail line in the United States, provided a record-breaking 38.8 million customer trips in 2012, an increase of 4 percent in ridership from 2010. Last year, the New Haven Line carried a daily average of just over 106,000 riders. Customers are urged to stay informed by signing up to receive Metro-North email and text message alerts for subways, buses, and commuter rail lines, as well as for traffic alerts on MTA Bridges and Tunnels at www.mymtaalerts.com