Metro-North Railroad reports that the overnight testing on a 118-year-old lift bridge unveiled a mechanical problem that caused Thursday morning's delays on the New Haven Line.
Here's the railroad's explanation released Thursday afternoon:
"The significant delays that you experienced during this morning’s commute were caused by a mechanical problem on the Walk Bridge near South Norwalk.
"The gear failure on the bridge occurred during overnight testing of the bridge at around 3:30 AM; this prevented us from closing the bridge over which New Haven Line trains must cross between East Norwalk and South Norwalk.
"The testing is performed as part of Metro-North’s proactive effort to safely maintain and operate the bridge.
"As our emergency crews worked to correct the problem, we quickly established a limited shuttle bus operation between East Norwalk and South Norwalk for westbound customers.
"This failure also forced us to temporarily suspend eastbound service from Stamford.
"As trains originating in New Haven were not able to operate past East Norwalk, this resulted in delays and crowded conditions between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal.
T"emporary repairs to Walk Bridge were made shortly before 9 AM and we were able to re-establish train service, although delays remained through the morning period because of heavy train congestion.
"An investigation into the cause of this failure is underway.
"This bridge is 118 years old; however, the State of Connecticut has invested more than $1.5 million in recent years to improve bridge reliability.
"We regret any inconvenience you may have experienced as a result of this Walk Bridge problem."
Update: 10:50 a.m., May 29:
Metro-North just reported: "New Haven Line service is now operating on or close to schedule. We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced as a result of this incident."
Update: 9:05 a.m., May 29
Rail service was restored about 9 a.m.
Here is the railroad's statement:
Please be advised that all repairs have been made to the Walk Bridge in Norwalk. Train Service has been restored between South Norwalk and East Norwalk, however, customers should anticipate delays and crowded conditions due to significant congestion in the vicinity of South Norwalk. Customers on board trains and in stations should continue to listen to announcements."
Original story: 8:45 a.m., May 29
It's a trying Thursday for Metro-North commuters. The failure of the Walk Bridge to return into place in South Norwalk stalled rail service Thursday morning.
According to the nation's largest commuter rail line, "Mechanics are unable to close the Walk Bridge near South Norwalk due to problems with gears and wedges. Repair crews are on site working to resolve this issue."
There aren't any trains running from New Haven to the East Norwalk station, officials said. Nor is there any eastbound service out of Stamford.
According to a press statement, Metro-North said, "We are currently unable to provide Eastbound train service from Stamford. Limited Westbound train service is being provided from South Norwalk. Limited Shuttle Bus Service is currently being provided between East Norwalk and South Norwalk. Customers should anticipate delays and crowded conditions."
Amtrak service also is affected.
Patch will update this situation as details become available.