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We will begin our ride to New Haven at Mount Vernon East which has four tracks, two wall platforms and a crossunder. Larchmont is next and we revert to four tracks, two wall platforms and a crossover at the south end.
We rise to a high embankment and then a viaduct as we enter another Amtrak Station, Bridgeport.
We leave Bridgeport on the main line and pass through Stratford before we turn off to the northwest via a single track. Ansonia follows, with a short low platform on the east side and is ADA compliant with a mini lift. We continue our descent and soon pass through an industrial area on both sides, with the buildings almost within touching distance of our train. Metro-North Railway operates by Metropolitan Transportation Authority and it is a public authority of the state of New York.
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The northbound Metro-North Railroad train struck a Jeep Cherokee in Valhalla, about 20 miles north of New York City, railroad spokesman Aaron Donovan said. The railroad crossing gates had come down on top of the SUV, which was stopped on the tracks, the Metro-North spokesman said. Witnesses said they saw the flames shooting from where the crash occurred, in a wooded area near a cemetery.
Ryan Cottrell, assistant director at a nearby rock climbing gym, said he had been looking out a window because of an earlier, unrelated car accident and saw the train hit the car, pushing it along. More than 750 passengers likely were aboard the train, including Justin Kaback, commuting home to Danbury, Connecticut. The other rail passengers were moved to the rear of the train, which had left Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan about 45 minutes earlier. All railroad grade crossings have gate arms that are designed to lift automatically if they strike something like a car on the way down, railroad safety consultant Grady Cothen said. Metro-North is the nation’s second-busiest railroad, after the Long Island Rail Road. Last March, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a stinging report on Metro-North, saying the railroad let safety concerns slip while pushing to keep trains on time. We've sent you a confirmation email, please click on the link in the email to confirm your subscription. Metro-North has been eying a plan to bring train from the Hudson Valley to the West side of Manhattan and back again for decades, without any action.
The MTA is planning to put a West side train project in its 2014 long-term capital budget, Newsday recently reported. The project would use existing Amtrak tracks along the Hudson River to take Metro-North trains on the Hudson line to Penn Station (see map below).
The MTA has begun meeting with residents near the proposed stations, holding several open houses in the Bronx last year, to talk with them about the plan. If it does get completed, Upper West Siders will no longer have to trudge over to Grand Central Station to catch trains that take them back up North again. I think this would be great but according to the map, the West Side stations would only connect to the Hudson Line, not the New Haven and Harlem lines.
North of the station, the Amtrak line from Penn Station (via Queens and the Hell Gate Bridge) merges via a two track connection at "Shell" tower. There are five tracks passing through the station, with platform arrangement, from west to east, as follows: wall platform for southbound trains, two bypass tracks with no platform, and finally an island platform for northbound trains. A highlight of this station is an abandoned right-of-way to the northeast, part of the former [New York, Westchester, and Boston Railroad]].

Westport is next and with the exception of an old low platform north of the station is identical to East Norwalk. This new station has two side platforms capable of handling 12-car trains and is fully ADA-accessible, with elevators on each platform connecting to a pedestrian overpass. The station has four tracks and two wall platforms with crossunders and station houses on both platforms. The station suffers an identity crisis; station signs show the name as "West Redding" while the maps and conductor say "Redding".
It includes the Kawasaki M8 EMU in Metro-North bare metal and red livery and some scenarios with them. The driver got out to look at the rear of the vehicle, then she got back in and drove forward and was struck, he said. She said her train car was evacuated about 10 minutes later using ladders to get people out.
The arms are made of wood and are designed to be easily broken if a car trapped between them moves forward or backward, he said. Late last year, the National Transportation Safety Board issued rulings on five accidents that occurred in New York and Connecticut in 2013 and 2014, repeatedly finding fault with the railroad while also noting that conditions have improved. 1, 2013, derailment that killed four people, the railroad’s first passenger fatalities, in the Bronx. But those plans could start moving forward in the next few years, with train stations coming to the Upper West Side and near Columbia University. A few years ago, Metro-North had discussed building a station at West 60th Street just off of Riverside Park as part of the new mega-development (5 apartment towers plus retail and a movie theater) set to rise there. The Bronx stations are part of the first phase of the Pen station plan, which entails bringing New Haven line trains through the Bronx to Penn station via Queens (the red line in the map below). The plan could also help businesses around the station, as upstaters come to the neighborhood to visit. The New Haven branch trains perform the changeover to catenary power, and the power change over is smooth with only a brief interruption to blower fans and lights. The station is at grade and old low platforms were seen at the south end of both platforms. There are four tracks, two wall platforms, a crossover and old low platforms on the south end.
A closer observation reveals a surprise, there are six tracks and the wall platforms are actually island platforms. Conversations with the conductor revealed the branch does carry a full load during peak hours. The westernmost track bypasses the station while the east track ends within the station at a bump block. The line climbs an embankment giving a postcard view to the west and to mountains further west.
The low platform is on the east side and is a strange platform, not quite low and not quite high. The station has a high platform on the east side and an ornate station house that unfortunately is closed. Service on its Harlem Line was suspended between Pleasantville and North White Plains after the crash. The NTSB said the engineer had fallen asleep at the controls because he had a severe, undiagnosed case of sleep apnea. But that plan fell apart, and the authority said it would look into possible sites at 72nd and 57th Streets.
An unusual feature of the two high wall platforms is construction of these platforms on top of the old low platforms.

Fairfield is next with four tracks, two medium length wall platforms and both a crossover and crossunder. Between here and Milford, our next station, the westernmost track is in various stages of absence, sometimes only one rail, only crossties, or just nothing, possibly due to track replacement work since the catenary wire is still in place. Leaving Redding behind we descend and enter Bethel which has a high platform on the east side. The track continues north of the station after passing a low platform also on the east side. The main station house is on the northbound platform and a small station house on the southbound platform. The main station house is on the east side, but there is a station house on both platforms.
The main station is on the west side at street level and is also home to New Haven's Greyhound Bus station.
A highlight of this line is a view of the Danbury Railroad Museum which time did not permit me to explore except for photos from the station. After a curve to the northwest, a siding appears to the northwest of our line, which splits into two tracks to an unknown destination. The town of Rye is the home of America's first theme park, Rye Playland, which is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
The station house is on the west side and old low platforms are still used as exits on the north end of the station. Current track usage at Stamford has southbound Amtrak and Metro North Express Trains using the inside track (track 3) and locals using Track 5, northbound Express and Amtrak on Track 2 and terminating locals on Track 4. Springdale follows also with a grade crossing and a glorified bus shelter on the east side of the high platform.
From here to New Haven, I-95 will not be too far apart from the railroad, although it may not be adjacent at all times. The line passes the New Haven's Cos Cob power generating plant and crosses a drawbridge on the way to the next station, Riverside.
Stamford is also home to a Metro North maintenance facility and storage yards for Amtrak and Metro North trains. The station also houses the Greyhound bus station as well as the ferry to Port Jefferson, Long Island.
The station has one low platform on the west side including a station house with a hip roof. Industry intrudes again and we arrive at Naugatuck, which has a new high level platform just north of the former station building.
The station building is the home of the Naugatuck Historical Society and its Museum and the office of a town agency. Old Greenwich is next and with the exception of a crossunder instead of crossover is identical to Riverside.
Leaving the station behind the line starts climbing before we finally descend into the last stop, New Canaan. Branchville follows and is identical except for only an west station house now a gift shop. The station has a second track to the east of our line which ends in a bumper block as does our track north of the station.

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