Thursday, March 15, 2012

Metro-North Railroad resumes catenary replacement project

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The replacement of century-old catenary wire that powers the New York Metro-North New Haven Line trains will resume on Monday March 19th, on two tracks between Southport and Bridgeport and will continue through the end of November.

To accomplish this next phase of work, which includes catenary wire replacement, bridge construction and installation of interlocking wire, Metro-North will take out the adjacent westbound track in order for the Connecticut Department of Transportation's contractor to continue work.

Each bridge or span carries two tracks and the contractor needs an adjacent track for work equipment.

During the phase of work that begins March 19, Track 1 and Track 2, the two inside tracks, will be out of service. Much will be accomplished, including:

• Four open-deck bridges in Bridgeport and Fairfield (at North Benson Rd., Fairfield Ave., South Ave. and Main St.) are being replaced with closed deck, ballast-style ones to provide a smoother ride. The support girders of these bridges rest on two tracks, making it necessary to take them out simultaneously. This work is scheduled to take place from April to November.

• New interlocking wire (basically the wire for track switches) will be replaced at Bridgeport Station where Tracks 1 & 2 intersect. This work is slated from July to September.

• About seven miles of new catenary wire will be installed over Track 2 between Bridgeport and Southport. This work will occur from September to November.

Underway since 1991, this project will replace the original catenary wire, which was first erected in 1907.

Currently, about 70 percent of the catenary replacement work has been finished.

Wires over the Connecticut portion of the New Haven Line have been replaced from Port Chester to just east of South Norwalk and from Milford to New Haven, including an interface with the Amtrak Shoreline East catenary system east of New Haven Terminal.
The upgrade of the power system for the entire New Haven Line is set to be complete in 2017.

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