Commuters Head To Metro-North Despite Service Interruptions After Explosion

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People are lined up and waiting for buses and trains at the Woodlawn Station in the Bronx, N.Y.
People are lined up and waiting for buses and trains at the Woodlawn Station in the Bronx, N.Y. Photo Credit: Sharon Pearson
Freddie Mason checks for Metro-North updates on his phone Wednesday in Westport.
Freddie Mason checks for Metro-North updates on his phone Wednesday in Westport. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari
Gail Greenberg and Petey Brucker of California are visiting family in Westport and heading into New York City on Wednesday.
Gail Greenberg and Petey Brucker of California are visiting family in Westport and heading into New York City on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Rail service was disrupted after two buildings exploded in Harlem, but that didn't deter some people in Fairfield County from jumping onto Metro-North trains and heading into New York City on Wednesday afternoon. But those traveling home had to get to the Bronx to find a train.  

Freddie Mason, a freshman at Providence College in Rhode Island, is back home in Westport for spring break. He was looking to visit his girlfriend at New York University on Wednesday. 

When he found out he would have to take two subway rides to make it to his destination, he wasn't too thrilled.

"It's just an inconvenience and it's going to take longer to get there," Mason said. "But I'm a college student and I"m used to finding my way around on public transportation in Boston and New York."

The trip home was much more difficult for Norwalk resident and regular commuter Sharon Pearson. She is not a regular subway rider and had to make her way from her office on Fifth Avenue to the Woodlawn Station in the Bronx to get a Metro-North train for home.

“I have no idea how long it will take to get to the platform,” she said Wednesday afternoon via email. The line was five to six people wide and went all the way back to the subway exit, Pearson said. 

Her normal commute from Westport to Grand Central Terminal usually takes just more than an hour, the same amount of time it took to get from her office to the Woodlawn Station. 

“I could be home already.” she said. But no one was cranky about the situation, just resigned, she said. 

The afternoon commute, however, was improving by 4 p.m. Train service into and out of Grand Central had been stopped after the 9:30 a.m. explosion leveled two buildings, killing two people and injuring at least 18. But Metro-North was able to begin restoring service on the New Haven Line to Connecticut after 4 p.m. Wednesday after work crews cleared the tracks.

The scene of the explosion at East 116th Street and Park Avenue in East Harlem was right next to the Metro-North tracks. 

Gail Greenberg and Petey Brucker of California, who are visiting her mom in Westport, were also looking to catch a train into New York on Wednesday.

"We heard that service ends in the Bronx, and then we have to take a subway the rest of the way," Greenberg said. "We're not so familiar with the subways, but we're not too worried about it. Figure we can always ask a conductor or someone for directions."

Brucker said their trip to the Upper West Side to visit more family "should be an adventure."

"We decided to take the chance," Greenberg said. "We are coming back tonight. Hopefully things will be back to normal by then."

Metro-North did not say when full service would be restored, but Greenberg and Brucker should be able to get a train back to Connecticut on Wednesday night. 

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