On July 1, Metro-North began the right-of-way improvement program in the Bronx between Melrose and Woodlawn, a critical six-mile section of the railroad. New Haven and Harlem Line trains operate over the four tracks in this area and then merge with the Hudson Line south of this location.
The project includes replacement of concrete ties and ballast, as well as drainage improvements, fencing repairs and general cleanup.
Because this area was carved from bedrock, the drainage is poor and rain water and snow melt tend to pool just below the surface. This standing water has caused premature deterioration of the concrete ties, which were installed between 1990 and 1996.
The trackwork here and elsewhere is critical for maintaining the track infrastructure and to reverse the effects of years of poor drainage and flooding, as well as preventing its future deterioration.
As part of the overall right-of-way improvements, fencing that runs along the top of the "cut" is being repaired. Because the tracks are below street level in a trough, they are an easy target for litter. Part of the project will be removal of discarded household items and other debris.
Work was completed on the inbound (to New York) track on August 5. As of August 12, work has commenced on the remaining three tracks in the area. The extensive program of work is being undertaken one track at a time. In the long term, Metro-North says the Bronx Right-of Way Improvement Project will restore the high reliability of its service through this important section of the railroad and improve riders' commute.