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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Metro-North commuter 'Speakout' set Tuesday

Published 7:28 am, Saturday, February 15, 2014
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A forum for the region's railroad commuters to vent over the problems besieging Metro-North Railroad is set for Tuesday night in Fairfiield.

And state Transportation Commissioner James Redeker will be on hand to hear them. Metro-North's new president, Joseph Giulietti, also has been invited.

The "Metro-North Commuter Speakout" -- set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Pequot Library, 720 Pequot Ave. -- is sponsored by the Citizens Transportation Lobby. It will be moderated by a representative of the League of Women's Voters.

One of the nation's busiest commuter lines, the railroad and its passengers have been buffeted by a series of problems over the last several years, with a rash of particularly intense crises beginning last May with a collision between two trains near the Fairfield-Bridgeport border.

The most recent commuter outcry greeted the railroad's decision Friday to cut back service to Saturday levels in the wake of the week's earlier snowstorm, causing severe overcrowding and extensive delays.

The litany of problems prompted the resignation last month of Metro-North's previous president, Howard Permut. Less than two weeks later, the entire system came to a screeching halt Jan. 23 during the evening rush hour because of what the railroad later blamed on "human error."

Five days later, a railroad employee was charged with sexually assaulting a female passenger aboard a train as it approached the downtown Fairfield station.

The railroad over the last year also has been plagued by several serious power disruptions that triggered prolonged service shutdowns, as well as incidents that raised questions about its safety and maintenance procedures, personnel standards and management.