MTA Metro-North Railroad today announced plans to accelerate track work in the Bronx including drainage improvements, tie replacements, fencing repairs and general cleanup of the wayside for nine weeks from July 1 through Labor Day.
During this time, one AM peak Harlem Line and one AM peak New Haven Line train will be cancelled and two AM peak New Haven Line trains will be combined.
"Metro-North is committed to providing its customers safe, reliable, and comfortable train service," said Metro-North President Howard Permut. "We believe that accelerating long-planned track work is the right way to go and we ask the patience of our customers during this crucial effort."
Between Melrose and Woodlawn, the tracks are below street level in a “cut” with masonry walls. When it rains, water from some surrounding streets pours onto the tracks and has nowhere to go.
This problem will be addressed as work also begins on a two-year, approximately $11 million drainage project that will be performed concurrently with the track improvements. The work will include installation of underground drains that will connect to New York City sewer lines that cross below the tracks at 12 different locations.
This is a continuation of drainage improvements successfully completed in 2011at the Mott Haven Yard to alleviate flooding.
Standing water due to poor drainage is causing mud spots in some places between Melrose and Woodlawn which is causing deterioration of some concrete ties. The concrete ties are safe and are inspected twice a week like all of the Metro-North system and if any problems are found, action is taken immediately. About 1-2 % of the concrete ties in this six-mile section of track are being replaced with traditional wooden ties and new stone ballast will be installed.
The work will be undertaken one track at a time and will require that the track being fixed will be out of service continuously in order to accomplish the replacement as quickly as possible.
As part of the project, Metro-North will repair fencing that runs along the top of the “cut” and clean up the right-of-way. Because the tracks are below street level in a trough, they are an easy target for litter including old tires, grocery carts and discarded household items.
Because this busy section of track carries both Harlem and New Haven Line trains, some minor changes to the AM peak schedule are required to facilitate the work.
- The 8:03 AM Harlem Line local train out of Mount Vernon West due Grand Central at 8:38 AM will be cancelled and these eight stops will be handled by five different trains making extra stops.
- The 8:30 AM New Haven Line from New Rochelle due Grand Central at 9:05 AM will be cancelled and customers will take the 8:08 local out of Stamford, nine minutes later.
- The 7:09 AM train from New Canaan will make additional stops at Port Chester and Rye, as it is combined with the 7:35 AM that serves only Port Chester and Rye.
- Eight other Harlem and New Haven trains will have schedule adjustments of up to five minutes. Three Hudson Line trains will have adjustments of one to two minutes due to “slotting” of trains on the Park Avenue Viaduct and Tunnel.
- No PM Peak trains will be cancelled. Ten Harlem and New Haven PM Peak trains will have schedule adjustments of one to six minutes. No Hudson Line PM peak trains are affected.
The work will begin on Track 4, the inbound local track. As work progresses, trains periodically will be routed onto different tracks, known as "opposite sides," where for example, a New York-bound train may stop at what is customarily a New Haven- or White Plains-bound side.
When the track next to the platform is out of service, trains will stop on the inside (express) tracks and "bridgeplates," a kind of temporary platform, will be erected to span the out-of-service track. The train engineer, guided by the conductor, must meticulously "match" the train doors to the bridgeplates. In addition, boarding and unboarding is slower as customers must use extra caution when using these metal structures.
Despite changes to the train schedule, the combination of track outages, running opposite sides and the use of bridgeplates, some delays may occur. Metro-North will be monitoring the situation and will make additional changes if need be.