Metro-North Railroad today announced major service increases coming to the railroad just ahead of Labor Day, with service increasing to 82% of pre-pandemic levels and weekend service returning to full pre-pandemic levels. The service increases take effect beginning Sunday, August 29. Additionally, direct service between Grand Central Terminal and Wassaic and New Canaan resumes, as will ferry service on the Hudson Line. All these increases in service and service options come as Metro-North prepares for a post-Labor Day return to schools and offices.
Metro-North began a gradual increase from the Essential Service plan that was in place during the height of the pandemic in June 2020, by adding trains on June 15, 2020 and June 22, 2020, that brought service up to 63% of pre-pandemic levels. On April 12, the railroad restored weekend service between Wassaic and Southeast on the upper Harlem Line.
Weekend ridership at large has recovered faster than weekday ridership on Metro-North. In the spring, weekend ridership grew to around 60-70% of pre-pandemic levels as the Hudson Valley, New York City and Connecticut regions reopened and people utilized the traditionally known commuter railroad for leisure travel. Ridership on the weekend remains around 50% of pre-pandemic levels and with the fall season coming up, Metro-North is providing additional service to traverse the region and meet the increase in ridership demand.
On June 21, Metro-North enhanced its peak service, adding 24 trains during the peak periods on its three lines east of the Hudson River, which brought overall service to two thirds of pre-pandemic levels. The August 29 service increase builds upon that by adding 102 more trains to the schedule: 25 on the Hudson Line, 37 on the Harlem Line and 40 on the New Haven Line.
Direct Service Between New York City and Wassaic and New Canaan
Direct service between Grand Central Terminal and both Wassaic and New Canaan returns as both the Upper Harlem Line and the New Canaan Branch return to near full service levels. There are two direct, one-seat rides in each direction between Grand Central and Wassaic, while four morning peak trains from New Canaan to Grand Central and three afternoon peak trains from Grand Central to New Canaan are restored. These “one-seat rides” will allow Dutchess County and New Canaan residents once again to enjoy easier access to New York City without needing to transfer at Southeast or Stamford to a main-line train.
Hudson Ferries Resume
Also returning in time for Labor Day is ferry service on the Hudson Line. Last month President Rinaldi announced that the Haverstraw-Ossining and Newburgh-Beacon ferry services will resume on Monday, August 30. Ferries will connect with morning and afternoon peak trains.
Substitute busing on the Waterbury Branch will remain in effect while Metro-North and Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) complete extensive renovations and upgrades on the line. Work is expected to be completed by late September.
Labor Day Service
On Friday, September 3, Metro-North will complement its new, expanded weekday schedule with additional early, getaway trains. Details on the additional trains will be available closer to Labor Day weekend.
On Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6, Metro-North will operate a new, expanded Sunday train schedule.