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Metro-North Interruptions Anger Commuters Across Fairfield County

Metro-North Railroad commuters were faced with delays due to a problem with a bridge in Norwalk that couldn't be closed until 9 a.m. Thursday. Pictured is the train schedule monitor at the Stamford Train Station.
Metro-North Railroad commuters were faced with delays due to a problem with a bridge in Norwalk that couldn't be closed until 9 a.m. Thursday. Pictured is the train schedule monitor at the Stamford Train Station. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Metro-North Railroad commuters, including these at the Stamford Train Station, were faced with delays due to a problem with a bridge in Norwalk that couldn't be closed until 9 a.m. Thursday.
Metro-North Railroad commuters, including these at the Stamford Train Station, were faced with delays due to a problem with a bridge in Norwalk that couldn't be closed until 9 a.m. Thursday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Angry and frustrated commuters were left waiting on train platforms for four hours Thursday morning after mechanical problems kept the WALK Bridge in South Norwalk from closing.

At the Stamford Train Station, commuters gathered in front of the monitor to see when trains would arrive.

But on the platform commuters were clearly frustrated with the long waits.

“Three hours from New Haven,” snarled one man who didn’t want to give his name as he paced back and forth.

It has been a rough year for Metro-North Railroad. A Dec. 1 derailment killed four people on the Hudson Line. That followed a May 2013 crash on the New Haven Line that injured scores of passengers. Less than two weeks later in West Haven, a track foreman was struck and killed by a train after a trainee rail controller opened a section of track without proper clearance.

The railroad has also been plagued by malfunctioning equipment, and in Thursday’s incident a swing bridge wouldn’t close for five hours. It was corrected by about 9 a.m., but not before commuters had their morning schedules obliterated.

Many of those commuters had to sit and wait at the Stamford Train Station for a train to come.

Angela Peart, from Bridgeport, who was going to Pelham, N.Y., was able to catch a 9:15 a.m. local train in Stamford. But that would make her very late for work, and she wasn’t happy about it. Peart says that local residents who need reliable transportation are being ignored by Metro-North.

“I am very frustrated because they don’t cater to locals,” she said.

Toni Khalaf, a Waterbury resident, was equally frustrated.

“I was supposed to be in Greenwich at 7:30, and it is what now, 9 o’clock? I’m thinking about driving,” she said with a laugh before jumping on the same train as Peart.