Train service on weekends and off-peak periods will get a big boost when Metro-North implements its new fall timetables on Sunday, October 14, 2012, including 79 additional trains each week in the first round of service improvements that were announced last month.
These new trains will provide increased frequency in the most popular off-peak and weekend time periods, as well as faster travel times and improved customer comfort by adding cars on weekend trains that are usually crowded.
Combined with another 151 new trains each week coming in April 2013, this is the biggest service enhancement in Metro-North Railroad history.
“Metro-North is thrilled to be adding service and increasing frequency in the time periods when customers want more choices,” said Metro-North President Howard Permut. “Half-hourly service in the off-peak and on weekends will make the railroad a more attractive choice than it already is. The combination of 98% on-time performance and frequent train service will make Metro-North the preferred way to get around and we expect people will vote with their feet.”
The October plan adds 69 trains East of Hudson and 10 West of Hudson, including 15 additional weekday and 30 additional weekend trains on the New Haven Line, 24 additional weekend trains on the Harlem Line and 10 additional weekday trains on the Pascack Valley.
In Metro-North’s West of Hudson territory, the Pascack Valley Line will get a new 7:59 AM New York State express train out of Spring Valley to Hoboken/New York-Penn Station and a new 7:20 PM train out of Hoboken (7:13 PM out of Penn) that will operate Monday through Thursday. On Friday afternoons, a new, pre-rush hour, semi-express will leave Hoboken at 2:58 PM (Penn Station at 2:51 PM) for the early getaway crowd.
On all East of Hudson lines, Hudson, Harlem and New Haven, Metro-North is restoring its weekend loading standard to 75% from the current 80% level. This will provide more seats to accommodate weekend ridership growth by adding extra cars to existing trains that are now a little crowded.
On the Harlem Line, the new schedule will provide half-hourly service at many stations during key higher-ridership times of the day on Saturdays and Sundays between Southeast and Grand Central. It will also provide half-hourly service at key high-ridership times on Sundays between North White Plains and Grand Central.
Harlem Line customers in the Bronx also will see half-hourly service at most stations in the mid-day on weekdays.
On the New Haven Line, the new schedule will provide half-hourly service at many stations during the key higher-ridership times of the day on Saturdays and Sundays between New Haven and Grand Central. In addition, there will be half-hourly service during the key higher-ridership times of the day on Sunday between Stamford and Grand Central.
On the Danbury Branch the 6:51 AM from Danbury will operate as an express from South Norwalk to Grand Central to relieve overcrowding and provide a 10-minute faster ride. A new train will cover main line stops previously covered by the 6:51 AM Danbury train.
There will be two new New Haven Line reverse peak trains, one departing Grand Central at 6:26 AM, with stops at Harlem-125th Street, Fordham, Mount Vernon East, New Rochelle, Rye, Port Chester, Greenwich, and Stamford; and another departing Grand Central at 8:07 AM, making Harlem-125th Street, Fordham, Rye, Port Chester, Greenwich, Stamford and continuing up to New Canaan, arriving at 9:25 AM.
The new schedule also will provide hourly service at all New Haven Line main line stations in the off-peak and weekends by adding stops to existing trains on the east end of the line.
For all changes, please check the new printed timetables, available now, or go to mta.info.
On the Hudson Line, there is only one change: On weekends, the 8:55 PM train to Poughkeepsie will depart Grand Central five minutes earlier at 8:50 PM.
As the winter holidays get closer, the popular Shoppers’ Specials will return to accommodate heavier weekend ridership. These trains will be included in the November reprint of the October 14 schedule.
Eighteen Shoppers’ Special trains will be operated on the New Haven Line on Saturdays from November 17 through December 29. On Sundays from November 18 through December 30, 13 Shoppers’ Specials will be operated on the New Haven Line.
Four Shoppers’ Special trains will be operated on Sundays on the Harlem Line between November 18 and December 30.
The next East of Hudson schedule change is planned for April 6, 2013. The next schedule change for the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley Lines will be in spring 2013, with an exact date to be determined.