Regular Metro-North service in effect

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Metro-North Railroad service is back to normal for the Friday commute. (Photo credit: Liz Dahlem)

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says crews installed six temporary steel columns following a fire under the tracks in Harlem that caused structural damage and disrupted train service for some 150,000 commuters.

Metro-North is running a regular schedule for the Friday commute.

"The return to a full schedule was made possible by round-the-clock work on the part of dedicated employees who on Thursday safely completed the installation of six temporary steel columns to brace a column damaged in Tuesday's fire," the MTA said in a statement.

Parts of a damaged column on a viaduct date back to the 19th century. But newer columns were not damaged in Tuesday night's fire. 


"You can see the damaged column in the center. We have to take the load off that structure ... and transfer it to other places so that the center beam can be supported so the two inside tracks can go back into service," MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast told FOX 5 NY's "Good Day New York" on Wednesday morning.

Trains were safely operating on the two outside tracks of the viaduct with train speeds reduced from 60 mph to 30 mph. The MTA said that all tracks would be in operation on Friday, but trains would run slower as they pass through the area of the fire.

Customers are encouraged to check the status of their trains and get real-time information using the Metro-North Train Time feature on desktop computers or smartphones. 

The fire erupted at 118th Street and Park Avenue in a garden center Tuesday evening. Photos and video taken at the scene show bright flames and black smoke engulfing the tracks.

More than 150 firefighters responded to the fire. Fire marshals said the fire appeared to be accidental and was caused when fuel was spilled on a hot generator, the AP reported. 

One firefighter suffered a minor injury when he slipped, but no civilians were hurt.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to the scene Tuesday. He told Fox 5 News that the concern was that the fire burned so hot that it may have affected the structural integrity of the train trestle. He said the FDNY gave him a steel bolt that was blown off the structure. 

NJ Transit was cross-honoring Hudson Line tickets on the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley Line trains.



With the Associated Press