Metro-North Railroad prepares for blizzard

Metro-North Railroad is operating 18 additional trains departing Grand Central Terminal between 1 and 4 p.m. To allow these trains to depart, the railroad will cancel or combine 14 trains that normally would depart Grand Central after 5 p.m., as described below for the New Haven, Harlem and Hudson Lines.

Service on all three main lines — and the branch lines — is expected to end by 11 p.m. on Monday.

New Haven Line

Early Getaway Trains:

• 12:58 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Westport, then Fairfield through New Haven.

• 2:01 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Westport, then Fairfield through New Haven.

• 2:28 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Westport, then Fairfield through New Haven.

• 2:31 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then New Rochelle through Harrison.

• 2:56 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Stamford, then Noroton Heights through South Norwalk.

• 2:59 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then New Rochelle through Harrison.

• 3:02 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Stamford, Westport, and then Fairfield through New Haven.

• 3:26 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then New Rochelle through Harrison.

• 3:29 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Westport, then Fairfield through New Haven.

• 4:00 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Stamford, then Bridgeport through New Haven.

Canceled/Combined Trains:

• The 5:18 p.m. outbound train is canceled, and will be combined with the 5:21p.m. train, which will stop at Harlem-125th Street, then Mount Vernon East through Harrison.

• The 5:57 p.m. outbound train is canceled, and will be combined with the 6:02p.m. train, which will stop at Mount Vernon East through Harrison.

• The 6:07 p.m. outbound train is canceled, and will be combined with the 6:11p.m. train, which will stop at Harlem-125th Street, Stamford, then South Norwalk through New Haven.

• The 6:42 p.m. train, stopping at New Rochelle through Harrison, is canceled.

• The 6:49 p.m. train, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, South Norwalk, Westport, then Fairfield through New Haven, is canceled.

• The 7:09 p.m. train, stopping at Larchmont through Harrison, is canceled.

• The 8:03 p.m. train, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, South Norwalk, Westport, then Fairfield through New Haven, is canceled.

Hudson Line

Departures of Hudson Rail Link buses, the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry and the Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry will be coordinated so they are timed to connecting trains under the below schedule.

Early Getaway Trains:

• 1:38 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Peekskill, then Beacon through Poughkeepsie.

• 2:38 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Peekskill, then Beacon through Poughkeepsie.

• 3:11 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then Tarrytown through Croton-Harmon.

• 3:45 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Peekskill, then Beacon through Poughkeepsie.

• 4:11 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Peekskill, then Beacon through Poughkeepsie.

Canceled Trains:

• The 5:29 p.m. outbound train, which runs express and stops at Beacon through Poughkeepsie, will not operate.

• The 5:57 p.m. outbound train, stopping at Harlem-125th Street then Tarrytown through Croton-Harmon, will not operate.

• The 6:12 p.m. outbound train, which stops at Harlem-125th Street then Beacon through Poughkeepsie, will not operate.

Harlem Line

Early Getaway Trains:

• 2:18 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then Scarsdale through North White Plains.

• 3:13 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then White Plains and North White Plains.

• 3:34 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, White Plains, North White Plains, then Goldens Bridge to Southeast.

Canceled Trains:

• The 5:27 p.m. outbound train, serving Chappaqua through Southeast, will not operate.

• The 5:38 p.m. outbound train, stopping at Mount Vernon West through Crestwood, will not operate.

• The 5:58 p.m. outbound train, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then Mount Vernon West through Crestwood, will not operate.

• The 7:03 p.m. train departing GCT, stopping at Scarsdale through North White Plains, will not operate.

• The 7:28 p.m. train departing GCT, stopping at Crestwood through North White Plains, will not operate.

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As the first blizzard in nearly two years heads for Connecticut and the rest of the metro area, Metro-North Railroad is preparing for the worst as 18 to 24 inches are expected along the New Haven Line and its branch lines to Fairfield, Danbury and Waterbury.

Extra engineers and signal maintainers are being called in, the railroad announced on Monday. Metro-North will take steps to ensure that switches – the interlocking tracks that allow rail traffic controllers to route trains from one track to another – are working throughout the storm. The railroad is activating switch heaters, lubricating the switches and treating them with anti-freeze agents. Rail traffic controllers will activate the switches to keep them from freezing shut. In addition, track workers will be positioned in critical locations to be able to respond if any difficulties do crop up at switches.

Snow-clearing equipment will be positioned strategically throughout the system to start when snow accumulation begins, the railroad announced.

In the region served by Metro-North, which includes the New Haven Line that serves Connecticut, a primary concern for the railroad the safety of station platforms. All stations will be pretreated with salt. Metro-North will continue to clear snow and ice throughout the week.

Trains will be protected by pretreating with deicer all door tracks and third rail contact shoes, which are used on the Harlem and Hudson Lines, the other two major lines that go into Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. To prevent ice build-up on the pantographs on top of New Haven Line trains, they will be raised and lowered throughout the storm. All couplers between cars will be covered with snow bags to prevent icing.

At Pelham, where New Haven Line trains change from overhead power to third rail power, mechanics will be stationed beginning at 5 a.m. to assist any train that experiences changeover issues.

Extra train crews and protect engines will be stationed at major junctions to assist in case any train breaks down. And extra signal maintainers, power and track department personnel will be station at critical interlockings.

Railroad customers with smartphones can use the Metro-North Train Time App for real-time train information.

A Metro-North train at the Fairfield station during the snow storm Tuesday, Jan. 21. All service on the rail line was stopped around 8:40 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23. (Mary Beth Lane Photo)
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