NEW YORK — Officials announced a plan to supply partial power to a heavily trafficked line of the nation's second largest commuter railroad as tens of thousands of commuters took to the highways and continued to scramble for alternative routes after a power failure disrupted service along the line serving the densely populated Connecticut suburbs and New York City.
New York-based utility Consolidated Edison was setting up three transformers to try and supply the needed 27,000 volts of power to a high-voltage line that failed Wednesday at a suburban New York Metro-North Railroad station, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said at a news conference in New York City's Grand Central Terminal Thursday evening.
But it was unclear how many electric trains could be served by the transformers' power, which would take power from lines in residential areas and step them up to reach the needed 27,000 volts, Malloy and Con Ed said. Officials said they'd be testing the alternative power source over the weekend to see if it could work.
A second high-voltage line serving the trains to New Haven, Conn., had been out of service for two weeks for planned repairs, officials said, and it was unclear if its absence caused extra strain on the line that failed Wednesday.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority, which oversees Metro-North, and Con Ed both said Thursday they believed full service could be maintained by the single feeder line. It hasn't been determined what caused the outage.
Meanwhile parts of Interstate 95 turned into a virtual parking lot for much of Thursday as commuters facing hours-long delays took to the roads despite warnings that the problem could last for weeks.
"I'm the governor of 125,000 pretty unhappy commuters right now," said a frustrated Malloy, calling the service disruption "a horrendous situation."