A comprehensive track reconstruction project underway in the Bronx has been expanded and extended and, to continue to support this work, a systemwide schedule change took effect August 19.
The schedules for Hudson, Harlem and New Haven Line trains were adjusted between two and 10 minutes to more accurately reflect the impact of track work on travel times and to improve service reliability. Many departure and arrival times have been shifted and in many cases running time was added to allow for proper spacing of trains through the congested area where the most intense track work is underway. This will help re-establish the precision that our customers expect.
For schedule information visit http://as0.mta.info/mnr/schedules/sched_form.cfm or, in New York State, call 511 and say “Metro-North.” In Connecticut, call 1-877-690-5114. Schedules will also be posted at all train stations. Printed timetables will be available after Labor Day.
The work, between Melrose and Woodlawn, requires taking one to two of the four tracks out of service in this critical six-mile section of the railroad, significantly reducing track capacity and causing congestion. In addition, speed restrictions are in effect to accommodate this project as well as other long-term and routine infrastructure maintenance work north and east of this section of the Bronx.
Because of these constraints, many customers had been experiencing delays of 6-to-10 minutes. The new schedule more accurately reflects actual service.
Work began July 1 and one track, the southbound local, was completed August 4. Work is now underway on the southbound express track.
The project had been scheduled for completion by Labor Day. However, utilization of a new track inspection technology called ground-penetrating radar revealed a need for more extensive repairs in the Bronx.
When the track improvements in this six-mile section are complete, work will continue for an additional two miles south of Melrose to the junction where the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven Lines come together in Mott Haven. Therefore, this schedule will remain in effect through the fall.
“It makes sense to intensify the program while we are already mobilized in the area,” said Metro-North President Howard Permut. “Taking a track out of service is disruptive so while it is out, we should make all essential repairs simultaneously. It is more efficient and is less disruptive in the long run.”
The new schedule also has returned to service three trains that had been eliminated on July 1:
The 8:03 AM Harlem Line local from Mount Vernon West, which will depart at 8:03 AM.
The 8:30 AM New Haven Line from New Rochelle, which will now depart at 8:31 AM.
The 7:35 AM serving Port Chester and Rye, will now depart at 7:31 AM.
The project includes replacement of concrete ties and ballast (the rocks that stabilize the ties) as well as drainage improvements, fencing repairs and general cleanup.
Because this area was literally carved from bedrock, the drainage is poor and rain water and snow melt tend to pool just below the surface. This standing water has caused premature deterioration of the concrete ties, which were installed between 1990 and 1996.
The track work here and elsewhere is critical for maintaining the track infrastructure and to reverse the effects of years of poor drainage and flooding as well as preventing its future deterioration.
As part of the overall right-of-way improvements, fencing that runs along the top of the “cut” is being repaired. Because the tracks are below street level in a trough, they are an easy target for litter. Part of the project will be removal of discarded household items and other debris.
For the duration of this work, train service to and from Tremont and Melrose stations is being replaced by a bus shuttle, affecting about 250 customers on weekdays and 100 on weekends. Shuttle bus service is provided to and from the Fordham Station, where frequent train service is available in both directions.
Metro-North tickets will be honored on the buses that will operate approximately every 30 minutes in the peaks and every hour on the hour during the off peak periods. The buses stop on street level directly in front of the stairs at Tremont and Melrose and in front of the station building at Fordham.