Officials dispatching transformers to paralyzed NY-Conn. rail line

Commuters stand in the doorway of a Stamford-bound train at Grand Central Terminal as transit on the New Haven line runs on limited capacity on Sept. 25 in New York. John Minchillo / AP

It's likely going to be a hairy Friday morning for commuters trying to traverse the New Haven line of the Metro-North Railroad — but help is on the way, officials said late Thursday.

Officials have announced a plan to provide partial power to a heavily trafficked line of the country's second-largest commuter railroad as tens of thousands of frustrated commuters struggled to patch together alternative routes after a power failure crippled service along Metro-North's New Haven line.

And yet, the chances of a speedy recovery are slim.

Repairs could take "as long as three weeks or more," although the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which runs Metro-North, and New York-based utility company Consolidated Edison are working to restore partial power to the paralyzed line as early as Saturday, Connecticut Gov. Daniel P. Malloy said at a news conference Thursday evening, according to

Consolidated Edison was readying three transformers to try to send some 13,000 volts of power to a high-voltage line that was disrupted Wednesday at a Metro-North Railroad station, Malloy said.

It was not immediately clear how many electric trains could be boosted by the transformers' surge of power to the line, which typically needs roughly 138,000 volts, according to Malloy. Officials announced they will test the alternative power sources over the weekend to see if it could restart the system.

A second high-voltage line servicing the trains to New Haven, Conn., had been out of service for two weeks amid planned repairs, officials said. It was not clear if its outage put additional strain on the line that failed Wednesday.

The MTA and Consolidated Edison said Thursday they thought full service could be propped up by the single feeder line. 

Officials have yet to determine what triggered the outage.

Meanwhile, swaths of Interstate 95 turned into a veritable parking lot through Thursday as commuters facing huge delays hit the highway amid warnings that the problem could run for weeks, according to the Associated Press.

"I'm the governor of 125,000 pretty unhappy commuters right now," Malloy said Thursday evening at Grand Central Terminal, referring to the service disruption as "a horrendous situation."

Metro-North has said it could hold about 33 percent of its typical ridership and has called on customers to remain at home or seek alternate transportation. Some 24 diesel trains were running Thursday in addition to roughly 60 shuttle buses, according to an MTA spokesman.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.