A Metro-North train, stuck on the tracks near the crash site in Bridgeport (Neena Satija)
Two Metro-North trains collided near Bridgeport, Connecticut, Friday during the height of the evening rush hour, injuring some 72 passengers, 3 critically. Train service to New Haven is suspended at least through the weekend, and Amtrak is suspending all Northeast Corridor between New York and New Haven indefinitely.
At approximately 6:10 pm Friday, the Metro-North train due in New Haven at 6:32, carrying about 300 passengers, derailed and struck a westbound train carrying about 400 passengers, according to a statement from the MTA, which runs Metro-North.
Passengers described a chaotic, terrifying scene of crunching metal and flying bodies, the Associated Press said. "All I know was I was in the air, hitting seats, bouncing around, flying down the aisle and finally I came to a stop on one seat," Lola Oliver, 49, of Bridgeport, told The Associated Press. "It happened so fast I had no idea what was going on. All I know is we crashed."
Officials late Saturday said they were ruling out foul play and were focusing on a section of damaged track, though Eric Weener of the National Transportation Safety Board said it was too early to tell whether that damage had occurred before or after the crash.
The MTA has halted train service to New Haven through at least the weekend, though there will be reduced service from Grand Central Terminal through South Norwalk.
Governor Dannel Malloy is urging commuters to make alternate plans, warning "this could take a number of days."
According to the MTA, "there are four tracks in this segment of the New Haven Line, but two of those tracks are out of service for a long-term project to replace overhead wires. On the remaining two tracks, there was extensive infrastructure damage as a result of the collision. Both the track and the overhead wire have been damaged. The train cars cannot be removed until the on-scene investigation is complete, and they will need to be removed by crane."
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said at a briefing Saturday that newer, safer cars likely prevented more injuries. He described a scene where massive train cars were strewn about "like toys" and metal had been shredded to resemble "ribbons."
Local police have been investigating, and the National Transportation Safety Board is on the scene.
The MTA says this is the most serious derailment since 1988, when an engineer was killed.
According to the MTA: Reduced, hourly service will operate between South Norwalk Station and Grand Central Terminal. Regular service will operate between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal. Regular service will be in effect on the New Canaan and Danbury Branches. Bus service will be in effect between Waterbury and Bridgeport with no train connections.
Yankee game service will be in effect between Stamford and Yankee Stadium.