Computer Glitch Forces Metro-North to Halt

Friday, Jan 24, 2014  |  Updated 5:43 AM CDT
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The Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven lines were shut down for 2 hours tonight.  The MTA says it was a power problem involving its computer system.  Trains are back up and running, but with residual delays.

The Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven lines were shut down for 2 hours tonight. The MTA says it was a power problem involving its computer system. Trains are back up and running, but with residual delays.

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An apparent power glitch in the Metro-North signal system stopped trains systemwide Thursday evening, forcing thousands of commuters to wait inside trains or at rail stations for hours as crews worked to fix the problem, the MTA says.

The power to the computer system that controls all Metro-North train movements was interrupted at 7:45 p.m., forcing all trains on its Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines to a stop, according to the MTA. It's not clear what knocked out the power. 

Trains were taken to the nearest stations, where riders were allowed to exit if they wanted. 

"We were stuck on the train. They didn't tell us anything, and then we stopped 100 yards from the platform," said Brian McDonald of New Canaan.

McDonald's train ended up back at Grand Central Terminal, where he and thousands of other frustrated commuters packed into the main hall to wait for service to come back. 

Power was restored to Metro-North signals shortly before 10 p.m., and trains started returning to service with delays, the MTA said. Trains were running normally Friday morning.

All trains had power, heat and light while they were stopped, according to the MTA.

The failure is the latest in a string of headaches Metro-North riders have faced recently.

On Wednesday, 200 passengers on a New Haven-bound train from Grand Central got stranded in Westport when a downed wire cut off power. And a power failure in October left tens of thousands of commuters on the New Haven line scrambling for alternative plans for nearly two weeks. 

A deadly crash in the Bronx in December exposed safety issues, and earlier this month, president Howard R. Permut stepped down

Serving 281,000 riders a day in New York and Connecticut, Metro-North is one of the nation's busiest commuter rail lines.

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