Danbury line to be out of service for two weeks

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NEW YORK – Buses will replace trains for at least two weeks on Metro-North Railroad’s 24-mile Danbury (Conn.) Branch until further notice due to extensive storm-related damage to the right-of-way in the vicinity of Bethel.

Torrential rains totaling more than four inches early this week caused the washout south of Bethel, Conn. Track inspectors discovered it at 3:58 a.m. March 7. The washout is 150-feet wide by 20-feet deep and will require a major reconstruction lasting up to two weeks. The washout can’t be reached by train or existing roadway, so the railroad had to build a 150-foot roadway from the nearby Bethel Department of Public Works parking area to bring equipment and riprap to the washout. Metro-North estimates that it will need 100 truckloads to fill. A local stone company started to deliver truckloads of riprap on March 7 and is continuing delivery every day.

The railroad is constructing a pyramid-shaped foundation of riprap for the 8-1/2-foot-wide track. The foundation will be 50-feet wide at the base, narrowing to 12 feet at the top where a foot of new ballast will be laid down.

Until the line is rebuilt, the railroad will run one train each during the morning and evening peaks, the 7:10 a.m. out of Branchville to Grand Central Terminal and the 6:28 p.m. train from Grand Central to Branchville. Danbury, Bethel, and Redding passengers will take connecting bus service from their home stations in the morning, and be transferred to a bus shuttle for the final leg of their evening return.

Three locomotives and 24 coaches were isolated in Danbury because of the flood. To get them out, Metro North moved the trains from Danbury to Brewster, N.Y. via the ex-New Haven Maybrook Line, now operated by the Housatonic Railroad. The line is owned by Metro-North as its Beacon Line. The Danbury-Brewster segment has been out of service for several years, but after an inspection the trains were moved over the line from Danbury to a connection with Metro North’s Harlem Line at Dykemans, just north of Brewster.
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