UPDATE: Metro-North trains moving again

UPDATE  10:49 PM:  The Harlem, Hudson and New Haven Line trains are moving again. The Danbury Branch remains stopped due to signal problems, the railroad confirms. More details on that here

We have reports that delays to New Haven could be as long as two hours.

Metro-North says the cause of the power problem is under investigation. The issue reportedly cut off power supply to the central computer navigation system. 

“I’ve heard from some very irate stranded passengers,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said by phone Thursday night. “This incident will understandably be seen as another sign of a broken system.”

Blumenthal said his staff have been communication with Metro-North officials about the latest service disruption.

Charles Hubbard Jr., a 32-year-old theater production manager from Queens, was stranded in Greenwich during the incident.

“It’s unfortunate that they closed the station, when you have people stranded out here on the platform,” he said “It’s just frustrating not to be able to get to where you want to go.”

8:55 p.m., Thursday: All trains on Metro-North’s New Haven Line are being stopped at the nearest station or along tracks because of another power problem.

The issue is also reportedly affecting Amtrak trains.



It is not clear whether all Amtrak trains have been ordered to stop. There are reports that some may be leaving stations. All Metro-North trains have been ordered to stop.

Metro-North spokeswoman Majorie Anders confirmed around 8:15 p.m. Thursday because the computer system that controls the trains had gone down. She said all trains along the New Haven Line have been stopped.

Anders said there might have been a power interruption to the main system that controls the trains.

The lights and heat on individual trains are not expected to be affected. MTA traffic controllers are reportedly being told to let their passengers out and tell them to seek alternate forms of transportation.

In an email notification a few minutes later, Metro-North confirmed that the problem is affecting the Harlem and Hudson lines as well and that those trains are also stopped.

“Appropriate personnel are responding,” the email said. “We will provide additional details as they become available.

Ronnie James, who lives in New York City but was visiting family in Bridgeport Thursday, was annoyed but resigned to Metro North’s latest woes as he was stuck on a train.

But he complained that the train car’s intercom speaker volume was too low for passengers to hear the conductor’s announcements.

“They should at least fix the speakers so people can hear what’s going on,” James said. “not that we have any choice, but we should know what’s going on.”

Several people called for rides to pick them up from the Noroton station, but James said he was going to wait for Metro-North to come back online.

“I don’t know how much a taxi ride would cost,” he said.


“I have never heard of a computer crash like this before,” said Jim Cameron, with the Connecticut Commuter Rail Council. “This has got to be unrelated I assume to the weather. It just sounds like a hardware/software problem at their headquarters in New York and since they can’t run the signals they just don’t want anyhting to move.”

Asked how worse it can get for MetroNorth, Cameron said, “A complete shutdown? This is about it. I assume they’re going to work all night and get things running in the morning but this is inconveniencing a ton of people … Anybody that went into (New York City) to the theater this evening or coming home from a late meeting, they’re screwed. This is unheard of.”

One longtime Metro North employee who lives in Fairfield County said the entire system has never been shut down as far as they recalled.

“This is a first,” the employee said. “It doesn’t make you feel good. This is people’s livlihoods here. They’re trying to get home to their loved ones and our transit system is supposed to be very responsible. We are not living up to what we’re supposed to be doing here.”

The employee blamed the problems on a combination of good managers retiring, younger, inexperienced faces being hired and cost-cutting.

Staff Writers Martin Cassidy, Brian Lockhart, Rob Varnon, Neil Vigdor, Paul Schott and Kate King contributed to this report.


Wes Duplantier