FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Riders on the Danbury Branch will see a huge improvement as new schedules take effect Monday, July 7, as train service is restored for off-peak trips, Metro-North said.
The schedule changes were made "after closely monitoring performance, taking customer counts and listening to customer suggestions," Metro-North said in a statement.
"These changes are intended to improve the customer experience by reducing crowding and enhancing connections."
Buses have replaced off-peak and weekend trains since earlier this year as remediation work on the grade crossing systems on the Danbury Branch was completed by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, its signal contractor, and Metro-North.
But with the completion of most of the work, off-peak train service will resume for the stations from Danbury, Bethel, West Redding, Branchville, Cannondale, Wilton, Merritt 7 and South Norwalk as part of the new schedules.
Also, the first outbound train from South Norwalk to Danbury will depart South Norwalk 10 minutes later but will arrive in Danbury at the same time.
According to the Stamford Advocate, crossing gates had been dropping at wrong times along the Danbury Branch ever since a $70 million signal upgrade was installed last fall, causing extensive delays.
Running buses instead of trains for off-peak and weekend trips has allowed repair work to be done at nearly a dozen crossings. Weekend bus service on the Danbury Branch will remain, however, as repairs continue, according the DOT told the Advocate.
Other adjustments on the New Haven Line include:
In the AM Peak:
The 6:50 a.m. local from Stamford making all stops to Grand Central will depart Stamford six minutes later, at 6:56 a.m. This change will restore a connection with the 5:48 a.m. train from New Haven, which arrives at Stamford at 6:52 a.m. Customers will save up to 28 minutes of travel time as a result of this connection.
To accommodate this change, the following adjustments will be made:
- The 6:55 a.m. semi-express from Stamford will operate five minutes earlier, departing at 6:50 a.m.
- The 7:29 a.m. from New Rochelle, N.Y., will operate seven minutes earlier, departing at 7:22 a.m.
- The 7:28 a.m. from Harrison, N.Y., will operate three minutes later, departing at 7:31 a.m., but the arrival time of this train at Grand Central will not change.
Also, to relieve overcrowding, the 6:20 a.m. train from New Haven to Grand Central will add stops at Old Greenwich, Riverside and Cos Cob, but will no longer stop at the stations at Port Chester and Rye, N.Y.
To accommodate customers at these stations, a new train will depart Greenwich at 7:33 a.m., making stops at Port Chester and Rye before running express to Harlem-125th Street and Grand Central.
In the PM Peak:
The 6:35 p.m. train from Grand Central to New Haven will depart four minutes earlier, at 6:31 p.m. This change is being made in response to a crowding issue on this train.
New timetables are available in Grand Central Terminal and other stations. Train times can also be found on Metro-North's interactive schedules page.
Read the full story on the signal work on the Danbury Branch on the Stamford Advocate website.