FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday, Metro-North will cut its trains back to an hourly service as a nor'easter continues to hammer Fairfield County and the region with snow and sleet, the commuter rail announced via its website.
"This service plan reflects that we carried only one-third of normal ridership this morning, and the effects of the heavy snowfall in our service territory," Metro-North said.
Customers who are able to are urged to travel early before hourly service is put into effect, Metro-North said.
Train times will be available on the interactive schedules webpage.
The commuter rail is already operating on a reduced service due to the winter storm with some local and express trains that serve adjacent stations being combined and making additional stops.
Train riders are cautioned to take care when traveling in the snowy and icy conditions and to allow for additional travel time. Also, use caution when entering and exiting trains, and on platforms and staircases.
Metro-North said Wednesday it called in extra personnel and treated railcar door panels with anti-freeze agents to prepare for the storm.
The commuter railroad sent out snow blowers, plow trains, front-end loaders and backhoes to battle the snow, said Meredith Daniels, a Metro-North spokeswoman.
“We’re basically readying all of our snow-fighting equipment,” Daniels said.
The snow and ice is a particular problem on the New Haven Line, where overhead catenary wires power the trains.
“There isn’t much we can do to prevent ice from forming on the wires. We just have to pay special attention to this,” Daniels said.
Commuters were warned to expect delays even with the reduced schedule.
Up to 10 to 14 inches of snow along with sleet is expected to fall across Fairfield County. Sleet and freezing rain was falling along the immediate shoreline in Fairfield County.