DANBURY, Conn. -- As Metro-North works to fix the signal issues plaguing the Danbury Branch, it is adjusting the schedule for the trains along the route to reflect the longer travel times, the Connecticut Department of Transportation announced.
As previously announced, off-peak and weekend train service will be replaced with bus service to and from South Norwalk and Danbury. Tickets for the Danbury Branch will be honored on Metro-North's Harlem Line in New York as well to better accommodate some commuters.
Under the new schedule beginning Monday, weekday morning peak-hour trains will leave Danbury at 5:28 a.m., 6:06 a.m., 6:38 a.m., 7:18 a.m. and 7:44 a.m. -- about eight to 10 minutes earlier than on the current schedule.
Afternoon trains starting with the 3:08 through the 7:12 p.m. from Grand Central will operate on the current schedule at all stations through Redding. But they will arrive eight to 11 minutes later at Bethel and Danbury.
Off-peak weekday trains will be replaced with buses.
Travel times for all rail and bus trips have been adjusted to reflect additional travel time required due to rail and road travel requirements, Metro-North said.
“We have identified an issue with false activation of equipment at railroad crossings when there is no train approaching," DOT Commissioner James Redeker said in a statement. "Ensuring safety of the rail crossings through the proper operation of the signal system is our No. 1 priority. We are aggressively pursuing a remedy, but until a fix is in place, we will operate the Danbury Branch on this revised schedule."
Since the issues were identified, trains have been operating on a “stop and warn” system, requiring the train to stop before each crossing and warn motorists that a train is coming through. This practice has reduced train speeds and affected service.
About 2,200 commuters use the Danbury branch on an average weekday.
The trains, pulled or pushed by diesel engines make many grade crossings along its 23.9-mile route. Danbury Branch train stations are at Danbury, Bethel, West Redding, Branchville, Cannondale, Wilton, Merritt 7 and South Norwalk.