Rider Revolt on Steamy New Haven Line

The Beleauguered New Haven Line (BNHL) did not acquit itself well in last Friday’s 104 degree temps, notes Jim Cameron, who is chairman of the CT Metro-North Commuter Council, but not the guy who made Avatar.

A breakdown close to Westport station caused some serious rider distress, writes Cameron, who does not spare the end-of-the-world hyperbole. The train started out of GCT for points northeast with a few air conditioning problems, and the AC went out systemwide when the train lost power, he says

Eyewitnesses on the train tell me people started panicking as the temperature rose. They asked a conductor to open a window or door, but he refused. Finally, two passengers opened emergency evacuation windows, pried open the doors, jumped out and walked down onto the tracks.

Realizing that they faced an emergency and with no aid or communications from the conductors, people pulled out their phones and dialed 911. The railroad wasn’t going to rescue them, so maybe the police could. People were crying, fainting, throwing up. At least three pregnant women were in distress.

In other words, it was just another day on the New Haven Line.

Cameron says that 1:34 out of GCT was one of many trains on the line that put forth miserable performances in the sizzling heat. 

Metro-North is responsible for its horrendous, potentially life-threatening lack of communications. On the trains, at the stations and via e-mail, their silence and ambiguity about Friday’s crisis are just the latest in a litany of disregard for the commuter, their customer.

[image: BBC]

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