Railroad Adding 24 Trains – Eight Each on Harlem Line, Hudson Line, New Haven Line
Service Increases to Two Thirds of Pre-Pandemic Levels; New Timetables to Take Effect Aug. 29 Will Restore 83% of Pre-Pandemic Service
Crews Complete 217 Miles of New Haven Line Catenary Modernization
Hours Extended for Grand Central Entrances at 46th, 47th and 48th Streets
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Metro-North Railroad today announced new train schedules taking effect Monday, June 21, that will add 24 new peak trains on its three lines east of the Hudson River, bringing service to 67% of pre-pandemic levels, from the 63% that has been in place for a year. The changes are directed to the peak periods, when ridership is heavier. A more significant service change, which will increase service to 83% of pre-pandemic levels during the week and 70% of pre-COVID levels on the weekends, will take place on Aug. 29, just in time for Labor Day.
The June 21 service increase comes as New York City, the Hudson Valley and Connecticut continue their reopening and Metro-North continues to welcome more riders back to the railroad. On June 1, Metro-North set a pandemic ridership record with approximately 94,923 trips taken, and has had ridership above 90,000 for five of the first nine weekdays in June. With more people riding the trains, Metro-North is extending the hours of operation of Grand Central’s entrances to 46th, 47th and 48th Streets. Effective today, they will be open from 6:30 a.m. through 9:30 p.m. on weekdays. Since last Sept. 28, they had been open only from 6:30 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.
“We are thrilled to see sustained ridership growth as the region comes back from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Catherine Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad. “Metro-North is increasing service to meet the demand that we are seeing, and we couldn’t be happier to be welcoming so many of our customers back.”
In a further service benefit for customers, officials also announced the completion of the New Haven Line’s catenary system, the overhead wires that power the trains. Through this project, crews replaced Connecticut’s 217 miles of original 1907 "fixed termination" catenary, which can sag or contract due to temperature changes, with a state-of-the-art “constant tension” system that better accommodates temperature extremes.
Before the replacement, train speeds could be restricted as much as 30 mph if the weather was hotter than 90 degrees or colder than 25 degrees, and train pantographs suffered greater wear-and-tear. The completion of the project will lead to more reliable train service with fewer power-related service disruptions, and fewer congestion-related bottlenecks that were in effect when tracks were taken out of service for the catenary work.
"This is truly a milestone for the Metro-North New Haven Line and the New Canaan Branch," said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti. "The completion of this work to replace and upgrade a more than 100-year-old critical component of railroad infrastructure signifies not only a new era of improved service reliability, but also an improved customer experience for years to come.”
“This additional service that's being added, both on Monday and in August, is really a terrific sign for commuters and it's a great sign of recovery for our region,” said Lisa Daglian, Executive Director, Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA. “More trains are great for anybody who wants to travel around the region. It's a great sign of our economic return to some sense of normalcy.”
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said: "Increased Metro-North service could not be more important as the economy is reopening and residents are returning to work. I thank Metro-North Railroad for supporting our commuters during the post-pandemic recovery, and taking steps to ensure increased train service is available and easier to access."
“This service expansion is great for customers and is yet another positive sign of our region coming back to life,” said Amy Paulin, Assembly Member and Chair, Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions. “Metro-North is doing a terrific job of responding to the current increase in customer ridership and contributing to the reopening of our economy.”
“It is exciting to see the region’s recovery and Metro-North ridership trending in such positive directions,” said Rhonda Herman, MTA Board Member. “This service increase is a result of the great work done to fight back the pandemic and a major step in riders returning in full to Metro-North.”
"Adding trains during peak hours on all three Metro-North lines is great news for commuters -- and it's a great sign of recovery for our region,” said Randy Glucksman, MTA Board Member and Chair, Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council. “We know that more and more people are riding trains and ensuring that they feel comfortable will help bring even more back on board. As we approach the next phases of reopening, the sense of normalcy of riding the rails is something that many of us look forward to."
Customers will see the following changes take effect on June 21:
New Haven Line
On the New Haven Line, both morning and afternoon peak-period service will increase from 22 trains to 26.
Two Stamford to Grand Central local trains are being added. The first train will operate from Stamford to Greenwich, make all stops to Larchmont and then operate express to Harlem-125th St and Grand Central. A second Grand Central-bound train will operate from Harrison to Grand Central stopping at Mamaroneck, Larchmont and Harlem-125th St.
Another change in the June 21 timetables is the 7:20 a.m. Grand Central-bound local train from Stamford, which will make additional stops at Old Greenwich, Riverside and Cos Cob, while bypassing stops at Harrison, Mamaroneck and Larchmont, which will be served by one of the added trains.
In the afternoon, two Stamford-bound departures are being added from Grand Central, stopping at Harlem-125th St, then express to New Rochelle before making all stops to Stamford.
Two trains from New Haven to Grand Central are being added in weekday mornings, stopping at all stations between New Haven and Fairfield, then express to Stamford, Harlem-125th St and Grand Central.
In the afternoon, two New Haven-bound trains are being added from Grand Central, stopping at Harlem-125th St, then express to Stamford, then all stops to New Haven.
On the Harlem Line, both morning and afternoon peak-period service will increase to 25 trains, from 21.
In the morning, two new southbound trains stop at all stations between Crestwood and Mt Vernon West, then Fordham, Harlem-125th St and Grand Central. In the afternoon, a new northbound train will stop at Harlem-125th St and make all stops between Mt. Vernon West and Crestwood. A second northbound train will stop at Harlem-125th St, then will operate express to Crestwood, Scarsdale, Hartsdale, White Plains and North White Plains.
In addition, four trains are being added between Southeast and Grand Central. In the morning, two southbound trains will make all station stops between Southeast and Mt. Kisco, then operate express to Harlem-125th St and Grand Central. In the afternoon, two northbound trains will stop at Harlem-125th St then operate express to White Plains and make all local stops to Southeast.
On the Hudson Line, morning peak-period service will increase to 22 trains from 18, while afternoon peak-period service increases to 21 trains from 17.
Two round-trips are being added between Croton-Harmon and Grand Central. These trains will make all stops between Croton-Harmon and Hastings-on-Hudson, then Yonkers, Harlem-125th St and Grand Central.
Two round-trip trains between Poughkeepsie and Grand Central will be added. These trains will make all stops between Poughkeepsie and Croton-Harmon before operating express to Harlem-125th St and Grand Central.
The Breakneck Ridge station remains temporarily closed for station safety improvements.
These service increases build on the April 12 timetable that added New Haven Line trains and restored weekend service to Wassaic.