Recovery Efforts Continue
While service has resumed across much of the MTA system, other areas were hit extremely hard by Hurricane Irene. Metro-North Railroad's Port Jervis Line has sustained catastrophic damage that will require months to repair. Shorter-term recovery efforts are underway to restore a number of other LIRR and Metro-North branches.
The full extent of the damage to the Port Jervis Line has not been determined, as much of the line remains inaccessible and under water. Through a combination of observations made on the ground and from a helicopter, Metro-North work crews have observed significant washouts and fallen trees at numerous locations along the tracks west of Suffern. Some of the more significant issues that have been identified include:
- Three washout locations of 1,000 feet each near Sloatsburg
- A 400-foot section of track washed out to a depth of 8 feet south of Sloatsburg
- Significant damage to several railroad bridges
- Suspected significant damage to the signal system, which is exposed and under water.
Metro-North will retain an engineering firm to perform a thorough inspection of 24 miles of infrastructure to determine the full extent of necessary repairs and determine required environmental permitting. Major construction work would follow. It will take months to rebuild the track, signal and bridge infrastructure required to reinstitute train service. The exact duration will be determined by the investigation.
Metro-North worked with Orange County to develop an alternate service plan for the 2,300 people who use the Port Jervis Line each weekday. Bus service will take customers between the Harriman Station and train service at the Ramsey/Route 17 station. Buses will follow the train schedule. Metro-North will seek to expand the bus options available as road and station conditions improve in Orange County.
In addition, Metro-North customers can use their Port Jervis Line commutation tickets on the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry or on the Newburgh-Beacon Bus. Port Jervis Line commutation tickets also will be honored for travel on the Hudson Line. Customers from Salisbury Mills west to Port Jervis can park at Harriman and Beacon or Cortlandt on the Hudson Line, where their valid LAZ parking permits will be honored. A permit does not guarantee a space.
Elsewhere, Metro-North and the LIRR are experiencing local power outages that are preventing signals and grade crossings from functioning. In the meantime, crews are engaged in removing fallen trees, pumping floodwaters and inspecting rails and switches in order to have the tracks ready to restore train service as soon as power is restored to signals and crossings. Monitor MTA.info and the MTA's email and text message alerts for the latest service status.