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Metro-North Blames Disabled Maintenance Vehicle For Lengthy Monday Delays

A contractor's high rail vehicle — a maintenance vehicle that can operate both on railroad tracks and a conventional road — became disabled in the vicinity of Melrose on Monday morning, causing long delays on Metro-North.
A contractor's high rail vehicle — a maintenance vehicle that can operate both on railroad tracks and a conventional road — became disabled in the vicinity of Melrose on Monday morning, causing long delays on Metro-North. Photo Credit: Metro-North

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The heavy delays customers experienced on Metro North during rush hour Monday morning were due to a maintenance vehicle that became disabled on the tracks in the vicinity of Melrose, Metro North announced.

A contractor's high rail vehicle, which can operate on both railroad tracks and a conventional road, became disabled as it slowly passed through a a critical interlocking. An interlocking is a section of switches and signals that enables the railroad to switch trains across tracks. This took out two of the four tracks between Melrose and Woodlawn, an area in the Bronx where the Harlem and New Haven lines share tracks.

The railroad's operating flexibility was therefore hampered at the start of the morning rush, Metro North said, and it resulted in train congestion and initial delays of up to 20 minutes.

By 7 a.m. Metro North officials were able to get the two tracks back in service in between Melrose and Woodlawn, but they were still not available in the interlocking. Metro North only had one track to operate outbound service from Grand Central Terminal at reduced speeds through the area, which further compounded track limitations and caused delays to build to 30-50 minutes.

A wreck crane was dispatched to the area before 9 a.m. and the high rail vehicle was eventually removed by 1 p.m.

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