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With Limited Metro-North Service, Train Commuters Scramble To Get To Work

Norm Horwitz at the Greenwich train station on Wednesday. He is waiting for a third train as he tries to get to work in New Rochelle, N.Y.
Norm Horwitz at the Greenwich train station on Wednesday. He is waiting for a third train as he tries to get to work in New Rochelle, N.Y. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Connecticut commuters who rely on the trains were forced to scramble Wednesday morning with Metro-North running on a limited schedule as a result of a massive fire Tuesday night in Harlem.

Norm Horwitz of New Haven was just one commuter who was having a long trip to work on Wednesday morning. He was waiting at the Greenwich Train Station, looking to board a third train to get him to work in New Rochelle, N.Y. Usually, he takes just one train. 

Service on Metro-North's New Haven Line is usually very reliable, said Horwitz, who has been taking the train to work for the last nine years.

But Wednesday, he and many of his colleagues will be late with the trains running on a limited Saturday schedule.

"About half the office will be late — we're all in the same boat," he said.

And commuters should brace for more: a Metro-North spokesman said train service would be limited to a Saturday schedule for the rest of the day on Wednesday — and it was likely to be the case again on Thursday.

"We are working to restore full service Friday," Metro-North spokeswoman Nancy Gamerman said.

She praised the work crews for getting the trains back on track after service was halted late Tuesday. 

"It's really quite amazing — this was a massive fire," she said. "Within hours, crews were out there, restoring service and working through the night."

She said there were "delays and crowded trains," but said the commute was "going as anticipated."

Gamerman also encouraged commuters to find another way into work or to work from home until full Metro-North train service is restored.

With the limited train schedule, Metro-North is charging off-peak fares. 

Metro-North also reported delays of up to 30 to 60 minutes into and out of Grand Central Terminal due to congestion in the vicinity of Harlem 125th Street. It also reported some technical difficulties with the Train Time Mobile Application and advised train riders to call 877-690-5114 for information. 

The Connecticut Department of Transportation reported heavy volume Wednesday morning on I-95 and the Merritt Parkway across all of Fairfield County.

The massive four-alarm fire was at a local business at 118th Street under the railroad's Park Avenue Viaduct. Also, a string of propane tank exploded under the tracks at East 119th Street and Park Avenue, the MTA said.

The blaze broke out about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, No injuries were reported, and the majority of the fire was contained by 8:30 p.m. The duration of the Tuesday evening commute was badly disrupted by the blaze.

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