Tag Archives: Metro-North Railroad

Pic Of The Day #2106

Two trains running (Photo/Molly Alger)

Pic Of The Day #2097

Train tracks sunset (Photo/JD Dworkow)

Roundup: Metro-North, Ukraine Donations, Longshore Golf …


Metro-North is expanding service and restoring some express trains — including adding 34 new trains on the New Haven line.

Weekday service will be restored to 89% of pre-pandemic levels, and new train service will reduce trip times for a number of commuters (the railroad says).

Click here for new Metro-North schedules.


All week long, donations for Ukraine have poured in to Wakeman Town Farm.

Medical and emergency supplies, sleeping bags, boots, socks, sweaters, gloves, radios, hand warmers, binoculars — all were sent or dropped off by Westporters.

Similar collections took place all week long at Weston’s Lechat Town Farm, and Wilton’s Ambler Farm.

Tomorrow, they’ll be sent overseas.

As soon as they arrive, they’ll be put to great use.

Christy Colasurdo of Wakeman Town Farm, in front of some of the donated items. (Photo/Ted Horowitz).


Speaking of Ukraine: Lynsey Addario was a guest last night on “Amanpour & Company.”

Christiane Amanpour had an in-depth conversation with the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photojournalist/1991 Staples High School graduate.

Click below to see. (Hat tip: Linda Montecalvo)


Tee it up!

The expected opening for the Longshore golf course is this Friday (March 25) — weather permitting, of course. The halfway house concession opens April 1.

Click here for the course website. The pro shop phone number is 203-221-0900.  For day of play tee times, call 203-226-9785.

Westport residents can purchase or renew a handpass online at www.westportrecreation.com or in person weekdays (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at the Parks & Recreation office, across the parking lot from the pro shop.

The18th hole. (Drone photo/John Videler for videler.com)


Jane Green — Westport’s favorite international best-selling author — has just released her first novel in 3 years. “Sister Stardust” is also her first biographical fiction.

Green re-imagines the life of troubled icon Talitha Getty, in this unique story from a forgotten chapter of the “Swinging ’60s.”
Though Talitha’s life seemed perfect, in her 20s — already a famous model and actress — she moved from London to a palace in Marrakesh with her husband, oil heir Paul Getty. She presided over an ex-pat scene filled with music, art, free love and a counterculture taking root across the world.

When Claire arrives in London from her small town, she never expects to cross paths with a woman as magnetic as Talitha Getty. Yearning for adventure and independence, she’s swept off to Marrakesh, where the two become kindred spirits. But beneath Talitha’s glamourous façade lurks a darkness few can understand. As their friendship blossoms and the two grow closer, the realities of Talitha’s precarious existence set off a chain of dangerous events that could alter Claire’s life forever.

The epilogue: Because Jane is as clever a person as she is a writer, she’s bringing out a range of caftans and jewelry inspired by the book.

Jane Green



Speaking of trains (as we were above): Got something to say about Wheels2U and/or the Westport Transit District?

Director Peter Gold and others will be at the Westport train station this Wednesday (March 23, 6 to 10 a.m., near the elevator on the westbound side), to meet commuters. In case of rain, they’ll meet inside the station house.

Gold says, “We want commuters to let us know what’s right with Wheels2U, what’s not working, and what we can do better. We also want to talk to commuters who don’t take Wheels2U [the on-demand, group ride, platform shuttle service] to make them aware of it.”


The list of goodies at Local to Westport — the nearby-sourced food-and-more market on Main Street — always changes.

Among the new items:

  • Whistle Stop Pies (Ridgefield): Owner Lolly makes delicious berry crumble, chocolate espresso and lemon cream pies.
  • J’s Vegan Elderberry Syrup (Bethel): Julie does this batch with maple syrup instead of the traditional honey.
  • Riad’s Mediterranean Dips (Bethlehem): Hummus, yogurt dip, tapenade, pesto and baba ghanouj.
  • Alma’s Mexican Foods Macha Salsa (Westport, CT): Chili pepper-based condiments.
  • *Cato Corners Cheese (Colchester): Raw milk cheeses
  • Good Doggy Treats (Brookfield): Tony’s treats are a hit with canine visitors.
  • Knipschlidt Chocolates Easter Eggs (Norwalk): Fritz’s Easter collection.
  • Wanke’s Yankee Hot Pepper Products (Norwalk): Dave’s jalapeno garlic hot sauce, plus spicy peanuts.
  • Shearwater Coffee (Trumbull):USDA-certified organic coffees, roasted right up the street.

The Local to Market patio.


Last year, Westport Pride sponsored the town’s first downtown LGBTQ celebration. This year’s event is set for June 12.

But that’s not all. Leading up to it, there’s a Queer Cook-off (May 19, Aitoro’s).

Four teams — each including one chef — will have an hour to prepare an appetizer and dessert. It’s a fun fundraiser for the Pride group.

On June 1, they’ll kick off Pride Month with an LGBTQ-themed movie (appropriate for all families).

Also in the works: a drag show, and celebrations at Staples High School.

Showing the flag at last year’s Westport Pride celebration. (Photo/Kerry Long)


Russell Oost-Lievense has been named only the 4th head coach in the 64-year history of the Staples High School boys soccer program.

A former Staples captain (2007) and player at Hartwick College, Oost-Lievense has been a member of the Wreckers staff for 6 years. He is a special education teacher at Darien High.

He succeeds Dan Woog — hey, that’s me! — who retired in January after 19 years. I’m happy to quote myself:

“Russell is a spectacular choice. He has the total respect of players, parents and other coaches. He breaks down a match — both by teams, and individually — better than anyone I know. He is a master at creating game plans, and the training sessions leading up to them. He is a true student of the game.

“Russell is passionate about soccer at all level. He understands Staples’ tradition, our legacy, and the importance of passing that along to current and future players.

“Our program is in good shape. I am confident Russell will kick it up many more notches, in the years ahead. It will be great to see.”

Russell Oost-Lievense, in front of the Staples High School boys soccer trophy case.


The Artists Collective of Westport’s pop-up exhibit has announced a new date for its artists’ talk, at the Westport Country Playhouse barn. The new date is Saturday, March 26 (4 p.m.).

There’s an opening reception March 23 (6 p.m.). The exhibit is then open from March 24 through 26 (2 to 6 p.m.).


“Westport … Naturally” is delighted to present as many signs of spring as we can. Here is Richard Epstein’s witch hazel:

(Photo/Richard Epstein)


And finally … in honor of Metro-North’s expanded (and supposedly faster) service on the New Haven line (story above):

Metro-North: You Can Still Get There From Here. Just Not As Easily.

It may be because Metro-North ridership is still down significantly — off by about 65% — from pre-pandemic levels.

Perhaps commuters are just used to the regional rail system taking away, rather than giving.

But Metro-North’s recent switch in service — longer trips, and the reduction of express trains — has generated little of the outrage usually associated with such changes.

It now takes 79 to 84 minutes — according to the timetables, anyway — to get from Westport to Grand Central on weekday mornings.

Afternoon/evening service is “quicker”: 70 to 76 minutes (63, on trains that discharge passengers only).

That’s still appreciably slower than our parents’ and grandparents’ commutes in the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

Not to mention the lure of express trains. They’ve now joined other the Concorde as relics from a bygone — but speedier — era of transportation.

A train streaks through Westport. But it will stop often. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Pic Of The Day #1378

Train streaks through Westport (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Hey, Commuters! Is This You?

An alert “06880” reader/Westport resident/suffering commuter writes:

This is a special place to live. Westport offers a top-notch school system; quality restaurants; Compo Beach with its wide shoreline, expansive sports courts, skate park and barbecue pits; Longshore with a waterfront restaurant, golf course, swimming pools, racquet courts and sailing school; downtown’s dozens of shops and restaurants; Levitt Pavilion; Wakeman Town Farm … I could keep going, but you get the idea.

All of those reasons, and more, are why people move to Westport.

Why wouldn’t they move here?

If they work in New York: the commute.

For the most part, train time can be very productive and relaxing. Commuters unwind after a long day. They can nap, watch Netflix, read a good book, pretend it’s Happy Hour and have a drink or 3 with friends, or try to be productive and crank out some work.

However, there is a need for train etiquette. Years spent on Metro-North with 1,000 of my closest friends has exposed me to many atrocities. Among them:

The Eater. There’s no rule against eating, and late night trains are filled with commuters and theatre/concert/sports goers with food. But there is an unwritten rule against bringing food onto commuter (before 10 a.m., and 4-7 p.m.) trains. A few folks break the morning rule, usually with something benign (bananas, muffins, yogurt). On the evening commute, everyone is starving. There’s nothing worse than food on a peak train, especially when sushi with wasabi and soy sauce permeates the entire car.

Not quite Metro-North.

The Seat Hog. You know who you are. You put your bag down, don’t make eye contact with anyone getting on, and when someone finally asks you to get up to sit down you grumble and take your time, hoping the person goes elsewhere or stands. I take pleasure in going for that seat, knowing how much it irritates you.

The Sniffler. No one wants to hear you sniffle the entire trip. There’s this wonderful invention: tissues. They’re not expensive. Throw a few in your pocket if you’re not feeling well. Better yet: Stay home.

The DJ. No one wants to hear your music. Turn it down. You’ll help the rest of us — and you won’t go deaf yourself.

Dude, your music sucks.

The Phone Chimer. Turn the sound off. Sure, getting a text is exciting. But you don’t need to inform your fellow passengers how popular you are. There’s a vibrate option. Use it.

The Relaxer. Don’t put your feet on the seat. No one wants to sit there. And for the love of God, don’t take your shoes off.

The Newspaper Reader. No need to loudly crinkle and fold every page. Who reads an actual newspaper these days anyway? There’s an Apple Store right in Grand Central. Check out the wonderful electronics.

The Nail Clipper. No, you are not in your bathroom. Enough said.


The “My Job is More Important Than Yours” Person. The worst part of the commute may be the slow walk along the platform into Grand Central. Cutting in front of people will only save you a few seconds. Sit in the first car — or just get in line with the rest of us.

Does that cover it? Or has our commuter commentator missed anyone? If so, click “Comments” below.

Stay Off The Roads — And Rails

A stuck bridge near South Norwalk disrupted Metro-North train traffic this morning.

As commuters took to their cars, I-95 jammed up.

Which spilled onto local roads. Here was the scene, from one end of the Post Road to the other:

Post  Road 1

Post Road 2

Post Road 3

And — thanks to GPS — side streets were pretty bad too.

Just another day in paradise.


Crowd-Sourcing For Commuters

Metro North and — hey, there’s plenty of blame to go around — Con Ed made a mess of things last week.

Westport commuters are a hardy bunch. They’ve endured snowstorms, hurricanes, derailments, locusts and cattle death. But the recent power failure has tried the patience of even the most Jobian train rider.

With prospects that delays and slow trains might continue for a while, Westporters are devising creative ways to get to New York.

If you’ve got a great idea, hit “Comments” and share it with the “06880” world. We’re all in this together!

These days, it's almost impossible to get there from here.

These days, it’s almost impossible to get there from here.

Yeoman’s Work

This morning, Police Chief Dale Call  was on duty at the Westport train station. He and a number of officers — many with high rank — made sure traffic flowed smoothly, and that buses bringing riders from points east had room to move.

Westport Police Chief Dale Call, on closed-to-passenger-cars Railroad Place this morning.

Westport Police Chief Dale Call, on closed-to-passenger-cars Railroad Place this morning.

A few minutes ago, passengers arriving from Grand Central and points west spent a 2nd day boarding shuttle buses that would drop them at stations all the way to New Haven.

Westport train station

Those are scenes we figured would be repeated all week — if not far into the future — following Friday’s train derailment and wreck a few miles from here.

But Metro-North has announced that limited train service to New Haven begins at 3 p.m. today — right about now.

And the 1st train from New Haven to Grand Central leaves at 4:23 p.m. today.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), regular service resumes up and down the line.

That’s astonishing. In less than 4 days, Metro-North crews have completely cleaned up the huge mess from a mammoth train crash.

The next time there’s a hurricane, windstorm or other natural disaster, we’re hiring those guys.

Next Stop: Not Westport!

The other day, a Metro-North train blew past its scheduled 8:04 p.m. stop in Westport. A few dozen riders had to get off in Fairfield, then wait for the next westbound train to go home.

If you were on that train, you were probably pretty pissed.

If you’re a regular on Railroad.net, you’re upset too.

But some of the commenters there — a website for train geeks — are not mad  at Metro-North.

They blame the victims: Westporters.

Noel Weaver writes:

A train blew a station stop, SO WHAT!!!! It is not the first time and it won’t be the last time. I suspect if it had been say Fordham on an evening train instead of Westport nothing would have been said…

I blew a couple of stops in my career and in both cases nothing further came of it. I am human like everybody else.

Another commenter (“Rear of Signal”) chimes in:

This happens often enough that it’s not unheard of, but still rare. You know how often trains blow Yankee Stadium, or FF-Metro or even blown Stamford?

This one makes the news because some influential people call the local media in a hypocritical attempt to negate their own vanity. Everyone needs to get off of their moral high-horse and get on with their lives.

A train crew blew past Westport earlier this month.

Not all the commenters are so black-and-white. (Or as harsh as those who demand the entire crew on that train be fired.)

“Secaucus Junction” says:

You know, if I was an engineer, I think this sort of thing would happen to me too. It’s got to be confusing out there remembering which stops you are supposed to make when you are on different trains all the time. Maybe a simple brain fart by the engineer.

Which brought this response:

It’s pretty hard to miss Westport. The track speed in the station is only 40 MPH. Both the engineer and conductor are responsible for ensuring that trains stop where they’re supposed to. But, do we know if the train was on a platform track? Or, could it have been misrouted? I’m sure (Metro-North) will investigate this incident, especially since it has hit the newspapers.

And this:

I was on that train. Leaving South Norwalk, conductor announced “Westport next.” We blew through Westport without the slightest speed reduction. No announcements, no attempt to stop in Greens Farm or Southport.

Maybe the train got hijacked?

At Fairfield the was almost a riot when we finally stopped. We were told that the next train back to Westport would be in 45 minutes. Nothing further, no apology, no real acknowledgment of a serious screw-up….

This was completely inexcusable. The fact that the train crew kinda sorta pretended it didn’t happen makes it worse.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I don’t work in the field so I don’t know what it’s like. Whatever. MNRR has a problem.

Part of that problem, it seems, is that a few employees don’t think too highly of their customers.