Metro-North New Haven Line back in service

STAMFORD -- The Stamford railroad station was nearly vacant on Monday except for two Metro-North Railroad ticket vendors, a trickle of hopeful travelers hoping New York-bound service would resume and several people using the station as a rendezvous point.

Alex Sodi, a 22-year-old from Brooklyn, N.Y., began his wait at the station at 10 a.m., hoping for a train to Grand Central Terminal after being stranded during a weekend visit to New Haven.

A friend gave her a ride from New Haven to Stamford on Sunday.

"It has basically been an inconvenience for me today and I missed work," Sodi said. "They understood basically, because there wasn't subway service in the city."

Danielle Alexandra, 17, of Stamford, came to the station to meet a friend before going to the beach in Greenwich.

"We'll probably go watch the waves on the beach," Alexandra said.

Metro-North will run regular weekday service on the New Haven Line in time for Tuesday's rush hour, though the New Canaan, Danbury, and Waterbury branch line service will remain suspended as crews continue to restore power and signal wires torn down by Tropical Storm Irene.

Bus service will not be provided on the branch lines, Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said.

After suspending service Saturday in advance of the storm, the railroad just before the afternoon rush hour Monday restored a full Sunday schedule along the storm battered New Haven and Hudson lines, though not the branch lines.

Crews have worked to clear hundreds of trees that fell along the 70-mile New Haven Line, but additional damaged trees in loose, water-logged soil have continued to fall, causing further delays for branch lines, Metro-North President Howard Permut said Monday.

"The goal is to get the railroad back in service section by section in a way that will ensure safe operation," Permut said. "We still have trees falling down on all three lines on Monday." A contributing factor was periodic high winds until 9 p.m. Sunday evening, he said.

Over the weekend, Connecticut's two-dozen new M8s, along with hundreds of other railcars, were moved to Grand Central Terminal.

"We protected a lot of the equipment from any damage from the elements," Permut said.

On Monday morning, Metro-North repair crews continued to clear away fallen trees and branches from the New Haven Line.

Metro-North service on the Harlem Line remains suspended north of the Croton-Harmon station due to flooding that left more-northern stretches of the railway submerged.

"In some areas where the water hasn't receded, we haven't even been able to begin to assess the damage," Permut said Monday.

Due to the widespread power outage and lack of rail service, some residents who'd stayed home from work visited coffee shops and restaurants Monday, attempting to squeeze in some work by laptop.

"I did some work and I'm probably going to go get some lunch," said Charles Scheering, a North Stamford resident who was at the Starbucks in downtown Stamford.

At the Ferguson Library on Monday afternoon, residents sat in line on the third floor waiting to use one of the library's computers.

Eli Sandler, a financial adviser who lives on Long Ridge Road, said he managed log on at the library to do some work; he criticized Connecticut Light & Power for what appeared to be a slow effort to get crews to work in North Stamford.

"With the way the storm ended, I figured they would have trucks out by Sunday night," Sandler said. "CL&P seems to have disappeared once again."