Connecticut plans New Haven Line power upgrade to prevent future failures

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor
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Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Kevin Ortiz

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) will undertake a $10-million project to upgrade the power supply for Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line beginning on February 3. The project will prevent the type of catastrophic power failure that occurred this past fall in Mount Vernon, N.Y.,

disrupting service on the New Haven Line.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy plans to meet face-to-face with the incoming president of Metro-North, Joe Giulietti, and Thomas Prendergast, chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), on February 13 to discuss his concerns about the operation of the New Haven Line.

“The New Haven Line is the busiest single rail line in the country and, each day, takes more than 60,000 travelers off of our already congested highways,” said Gov. Malloy. “In anticipation of adding even more service on this state-owned rail corridor, we want to ensure riders have as safe and reliable a commute as possible and prevent the major system interruptions that we experienced in September.”

Metro-North operates the New Haven Line under a contract with ConnDOT and will manage the project in conjunction with Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P). CL&P has been contracted to do this critical work and will install new transformers to replace four aging transformers at Cos Cob, in Greenwich, to ensure reliability and safe operation of the electric supply that powers New Haven Line trains. This will implement redundant power for this portion of the New Haven Line and increase the power supply by almost doubling the capacity of the two west transformers from 16 megawatts to 30 megawatts and matching the capacity of the two east transformers that have already been replaced.

At the state’s direction, Metro-North has prepared detailed project management and contingency plans to the project’s success, including complete substitute service plans in the event of any power issues. Metro-North and CL&P have developed an accelerated schedule for replacement of the two transformers. Replacement of the first transformer will begin February 3 and is expected to be completed within 16 days. Replacement of the second transformer will begin immediately thereafter and be finished by mid-March.

Since the work is being done in stages, only one transformer is being replaced at a time. While the first transformer is de-energized for replacement, the tie-in will connect the east and west substations together to provide service. The second, back-up emergency transformer will be fully active and on standby.

Categories: C&S, Commuter/Regional