A second major loss of service in four months on Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Division is outrageous and unacceptable. This service must be reliable.
Early Wednesday morning, for reasons still unknown, a 138,000-volt Con Edison feeder cable, which supplies electricity to the railroad's overhead power lines, failed. Another cable that provides power to the New Haven line was out of service for scheduled repairs. That left the railroad limping along on diesel service, buses and apologies.
This follows a May 17 derailment and crash in Fairfield, apparently due to a track issue, that sent dozens of people to the hospital and delayed service for days. Delays from this week's snafu could run into weeks.
Ignoring its passenger railroads during the highway boom in the latter half of the last century was one of this country's most shortsighted decisions ever. The highways are full. We now know that we need every mode of transportation, working together, to move people and goods, especially in the crowded Northeast Corridor.
The railroads are still catching up with years of deferred maintenance; the system is still fragile. The bridges and highways are worn out from a half-century of constant and relentless use. We need to make a major investment in transportation infrastructure, yet Congress cannot muster the courage to add a penny to the federal gas tax. It's infuriating.
Each morning more than 40,000 people take the New Haven line to New York. They help fire up one of the world's largest metropolitan economic engines, a cornerstone of the U.S. economy. But if they can't get to the Big Apply, or to satellite cities such as Stamford, we all lose.
A century ago we were building Grand Central Terminal, and now we can't get to it because of a fried cable. Sad.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun