June 12, 2014 Update on the Danbury Branch Grade Crossings
Earlier this year, it was discovered that the newly installed signal system on the Danbury Branch - which had allowed for increased train service - instead resulted in an unintended negative consequence. The new technology train detection system that controls the closing of crossing gates would also cause the crossing gates to activate when no trains were approaching - bringing car and pedestrian traffic to a halt in the Danbury Branch communities. To maintain safe train movements, Metro-North and Connecticut DOT quickly established a requirement for trains to completely stop before entering each affected crossing and then proceed at 15 mph.
- We have implemented a new service plan to accommodate these measures and provide more reliable service with changes in travel times for peak hour train service and substitute bus service operating during the off-peak, evening and weekend hours. This change also provides the required track time for Metro-North and CDOT to correct the grade crossing issue as quickly and safely as possible. In addition, Metro-North customers who ride the Danbury Branch are able to present their tickets for travel on Harlem Line trains while we work to correct this problem.
- Metro-North and CDOT have established a Technical Working Group, which includes a third-party consultant who specializes in signal installations, to identify root causes and develop corrective actions. The team coordinates their efforts with the contractor for the signal project, Alstom, and their supplier of the Grade Crossing Predictor, Siemens, to help expedite the solution.
- The team has identified short-term modifications for each of the 11 grade crossings on the Branch. These modifications have already been applied to 9 grade crossings.
- Work on the remaining 2 grade crossings is expected to be completed in time for the July 7 schedule modification.
- CDOT will be expediting their "state of good repair" replacement program for the grade crossings and also improve drainage at various locations.
We will continue to keep you updated about our progress in resolving this issue.
We apologize for any inconvenience you may experience while we work to correct this problem.
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