Trains Slow and Stall Staples Commutes

In Mount Vernon, New York, a high voltage feeder cable failed at 5:20 on Wednesday morning. The result? A power outage in New Haven’s Metro-North Railroad Line and a complete stall in traffic between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal.

Thousands are affected, including some from Staples High School.

Both I-95 and the Merritt are experiencing traffic jams, making many teachers late to school. At the local train station, there are delays going southbound to New York City. But there are no diesel trains or buses being sent to Westport; those are reserved for Stamford, where delays are even worse.

In the Social Studies-English Learning Center, all three teachers present were affected by the delays. English teacher Alex Miller says his commute took over one hour, double the usual time; all three teachers agreed it was “horrible.”

 Biology teacher Cecilia Duffy joked that “if you know anyone who has a room, I might need to get one.”  Finally, Social Studies teacher Dana Gilland said she heard it’ll take weeks to repair the cable, and there was a collective groan in the room.

Currently the estimate is three weeks or more until train schedules are running normal.

Dave Rollison, who teaches chemistry, said he’s frustrated with the delays but added, “there’s nothing you can do. The entire artery between Stamford and New York is shot.”

Students were also affected in extracurriculars they attend outside of Westport. Daniel Shapiro ’14 says he goes to New York City “all the time” to play French horn. He normally takes the train but says he’ll drive instead this upcoming weekend. He said that “this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. They really should do something.”

Staples students’ parents also are experiencing trouble traveling. Ryan Tripodi ’15 described the delay as “ridiculous!” He said a classmate’s mother, who works for the UN, won’t be able to get to work for a week or two.

Collectively, there is a lot of frustration with the traffic and lack of train service, especially from those who paid for expensive long term train passes. But English teacher Holly Sulzycki also says there’s empathy towards each other at Staples High School. Sulzycki comes to school each day from Fairfield. Thursday morning, she left at 6:30, and didn’t arrive at school until 7:25. She can’t leave earlier because of childcare scheduling  but says the staff at Staples is very supportive of each other and that administrators are always helpful.

“We’re all just making new arrangements and doing what we can to help each other,” Sulzycki said.