FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- After reports of crowded conditions Friday morning, Metro-North is pre-positioning trains to provide extra rush-hour service for commuters on the afternoon trains back to Fairfield County and elsewhere.
Metro-North is operating on a Saturday schedule on this post-nor'easter Friday.
The extra PM-Peak trains will leave out of Grand Central, with Metro-North representatives on hand to assist customers with departure information. Customers are urged to monitor the Metro-North website for service information before traveling.
The service plan will provide 77 percent of capacity with the extra trains for Friday afternoon -- the start of a three-day Presidents Day holiday weekend.
On Friday afternoon, Metro-North offered an explanation for its service Friday morning, which was cut to about 40 percent of regular weekday morning rush service due to the foot of snow. The railroad also ran 14 extra trains Friday morning – nine on the New Haven Line, four on the Harlem Line and one on the Hudson Line – bringing service up to 55 percent of normal.
“Based on forecasts of up to a foot of snow falling overnight, we were conservative in planning schedules to help reduce the chances that trains could become stranded or would have to be canceled,” said Joseph Giulietti, president of Metro-North Railroad. “When the sun shone through this morning, we had more customers than anticipated, particularly on the New Haven Line. We apologize for this morning’s crowding and expect to do better this afternoon.”
Riders complained via Twitter of short trains, crowded conditions and the reduced schedule.
Rick Klingman complained via Twitter @rklingman about problems on the 6:48 a.m. train out of Noroton Heights.
"@MetroNorth great idea to reduce the service when it's needed most. Trains so packed , about 100 people could not get on," he said Friday morning.
Christine H told of problems at the White Plains station via Twitter @chewitt06. "So many people were stuck on the platform watching full trains go by."
Even people who made it onto trains had complaints.
"Spotted on @MetroNorth this morning: sardines in a can. Or at least that's what it feels like standing here," Matthew Kanterman said via Twitter @theKanterman. He was on the 7:04 a.m. train from Mamaroneck, N.Y., to Grand Central. "And the train is full."
More than a foot of snow fell across Fairfield County in the nor'easter along with a coating of ice. The ice and snow coated trains, rails and overhead catenary wires along the New Haven Line and beyond.
Customers were advised to anticipate delays and crowded conditions on trains. Off-peak fares will be in effect on Friday.
Commuters are warned to take care when traveling during wintry weather and to allow for additional travel time. Riders should use caution when entering and exiting trains, and on platforms and staircases due to the icy and snowy conditions.
For train times, check the Metro-North website.