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Squirrel Causes Train Delays

Metro North says the rodent shorted a transformer at the Cos Cob power substation, stopping trains.

A squirrel was the cause of Wednesday's power outage on Metro-North, delaying thousands of commuters during the morning rush hour.

According to a Metro-North statement released shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday, "The delays of up to 45 minutes that you experienced during your morning commute resulted from the loss of catenary power from Greenwich to Harrison shortly before 7 AM.

"This power loss was caused by a ground to the electrical feed at the substation in Cos Cob. This was caused when a squirrel entered the area and shorted a transformer.

"We immediately dispatched an emergency crew to the substation where they reset the relays for power protection. Once this was done, our Power Control Center personnel in Grand Central were able to restore power to the area by 7:25 AM.

"We quickly devised a plan to operate a limited number of available trains between New Rochelle and Grand Central, however, because this occurred at the height of our rush hour, a backlog of trains began to build, causing further delays."

The railroad also issued an explanation for delays occurring during the Tuesday evening rush hour which were due to a failed Con Edison power cable that caused sparking from the ceiling of the Park Avenue Tunnel shortly after 6 PM.

"The dangerous condition, occurring in the vicinity of 51st Street, affected an area approximately 30 - 50 feet wide. The burning cable caused several small fires at track level and prohibited us from using the tracks on the west side of the Terminal from track 24 to track 42. As a result, our operating flexibility into/out of Grand Central was severely limited during the height of the evening rush hour. We were able to operate outbound service from Grand Central with 15-20 minute delays; inbound service to the Terminal, however, was temporarily suspended due to the need to shut down power to allow Metro-North, Fire Department, and Con Edison staff to respond to the scene.

"Once the fire was extinguished, and the faulty Con Edison cable identified and shut down, we were able to restore power gradually to all the affected tracks. Regular train service resumed shortly before 8 PM."

Last October, a Greenwich squirrel caused a power outage that originated in the same Cos Cob substation.

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