FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- A $10 million project to upgrade the power supply for Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven Line will begin Monday, Feb. 3, in Greenwich in an effort to prevent the type of catastrophic power failure that seriously disrupted service on the New Haven Line this past fall.
The project was announced Sunday in a news conference by Gov. Dannel Malloy at Union Station in New Haven. The project will be undertaken the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
Malloy also announced his plans to meet face-to-face with the incoming president of Metro-North, Joe Giulietti, and Thomas F. Prendergast, chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metro-North’s parent agency, on Feb. 13 to discuss his concerns about the New Haven Line.
“The New Haven Line is the busiest single rail line in the country and, each day, takes more than 60,000 travelers off of our already congested highways,” said Malloy.
“In anticipation of adding even more service on this state-owned rail corridor, we want to ensure riders have as safe and reliable a commute as possible and prevent the major system interruptions that we experienced in September,” when a power problem occurred in Mount Vernon, N.Y., shutting down miles of Metro-North track.
Metro-North operates the New Haven Line under a contract with ConnDOT and will manage the project in conjunction with Connecticut Light & Power. CL&P has been contracted to do the work.
New transformers will be installed to replace four aging transformers at Cos Cob, in Greenwich, to ensure reliability and safe operation of the electric supply that powers New Haven Line trains. This will implement redundant power for this portion of the New Haven Line and increase the power supply by almost doubling the capacity of the two west transformers from 16 megawatts to 30 megawatts and matching the capacity of the two east transformers that have already been replaced.
At the state’s direction, Metro-North has prepared detailed project management and contingency plans, including complete substitute service plans in the event of any power issues. Replacement of the first transformer will begin Feb. 3 and is expected to be completed within 16 days. Replacement of the second transformer will begin immediately thereafter and be finished by mid-March.
“Because of lessons learned by Metro-North during a serious disruption to New Haven Line service last fall during a power upgrade to the power supply at Mount Vernon, the work at Cos Cob is being done in stages and a comprehensive contingency plan has been developed,” said Metro-North Senior Vice President for Operations John Kesich. “When completed, the new power capacity will allow for the future growth of rail service on the line.”
While the first transformer is de-energized for replacement, the tie-in will connect the east and west substations together to provide service. The second, backup emergency transformer will be fully active and on standby.