Weekly news roundup

While I was looped up on cold medicine today, I somehow came up with the idea that I should do a “news roundup” every week for the site. I’m a voracious reader – of both books and blogs. Many times I encounter articles that I think my readers would likely find interesting, but are not a big enough deal to warrant their own post. Many of the articles I do tweet about, but I also have a lot of readers that don’t have a presence on twitter. Plus, a few of the blogs I read do news roundups similar to this, and I’ve always thought it a cool idea – so I figured I’d try it out. Below you’ll find some of the more noteworthy things that have happened this week in terms of trains.

Rockefeller home Kykuit at the Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show [image credit]

Metro-North Bolsters Winter Arsenal

This week Metro-North has issued a press release regarding their strategies for dealing with the upcoming winter. Added to their “snow fighting arsenal” are “three new jet turbines to blow snow, two new cold-air snow blowing trucks and 150 modern switch heaters.”

MNRCC weighs in on recent MNR accomplishments

The Metro North Railroad Commuter Council has issued a statement regarding some of Metro-North’s recent accomplishments, including the restoration of service on the Port Jervis line, and the new Quiet Car program.

Apple store Grand Central opens

Friday marked the opening of the new Apple store in Grand Central. The MTA has posted a nice video tour of the new store that is definitely worth checking out.

Free coffee at new Metro-North station

The Whole Foods truck will be on hand at Metro-North’s newest station, Fairfield Metro, throughout the month. For commuters there will be free coffee from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. throughout December. Fairfield Metro just opened this past Monday, and if you missed it we toured the station on Tuesday.

6:40 train leaves Southeast station on Monday’s foggy morning

Abbe Raven is watching you on the train

The president of the A&E Network is a Harlem Line rider, and she likes observing passengers on the train. In an interview posted this week, Raven says the train is her “laboratory” and states “I get to see what people who are not in our industry are doing, what apps they’re using, how they’re using technology, what they’re watching on their devices.” [via trainjotting]

New art in Poughkeepsie

A mural by artist Nestor Madalengoitia titled “Welcome to the Hudson Valley” has been recently installed in Poughkeepsie station.

Holiday Train Show at the Botanical Garden

The Holiday Train show is in its 20th year, and the newest historical building to be modeled is the Rockefellers’ home Kykuit. All of the to-scale models in the show have been created using natural parts. Magnolia leaves, pine bark, eucalyptus leaves, plant stems, seed pods, and pistachio shells have all been used in the creation of Kykuit.

Best Animal Photos of 2011

Buzzfeed has come up with an awesome collection of animal photos from the year. Be sure to check out photo number 14, an adorably cute dog that has recovered after being hit by a train. (The Little Red Riding Cat at number 38 is also pretty awesome)

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Tuesday Tour of the New Haven Line: Fairfield Metro

Renderings of the completed Fairfield Metro property [image credit]

Many of the stations that I feature on this site have a rich history that I really enjoy to dig in to. There is nothing that I love more than to unearth old photographs or drawings of stations from nearly a century before I was born. Today’s featured station is the complete opposite of that, as it is brand spankin’ new. In the years since Metro-North’s takeover, a handful of new stations have opened on all three of the main east of Hudson lines. The Harlem Line has pushed further north, reclaiming once-lost territory up to Wassaic. The new Yankee stadium station is the Hudson line’s gem. But the newest station of them all is Fairfield Metro – the first new station on the New Haven main line in many, many years.

Former Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell at the site of the under construction Fairfield Metro in April 2010 [image credit]

Construction photos of Fairfield Metro in May 2010 [image credit]

Construction at the Fairfield Metro site in September 2010 [image credit]

Although the opening of a new station is not greeted with quite as much pomp and circumstance as yesteryear, people are still convinced that this new station is “transformational” for Fairfield. Unfortunately, the project has lingered and has been surrounded by controversy for many years: the soil at the site was contaminated, the developer went into foreclosure, the project was millions over budget, and the residents of Fairfield absolutely hated the station’s name.

And months before even being scheduled to open, Fairfield Metro was already covered in graffiti [image credit]

Eventually, everything did manage to fall into place, and an opening date of December 5th was announced. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony to symbolically open the station was held last Friday, and was attended by Connecticut’s governor Dannel Malloy. Train service commenced yesterday, marking the official opening of Metro-North’s newest station.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and Fairfield Selectman Michael Tetreau at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday. [Image credit, credit 2]

Two days before train service officially began, I got a chance to check out the new station. It is situated between the original Fairfield station and Bridgeport, and 53 miles to Grand Central. The average travel time to and from the city is around an hour and fifteen minutes. Fairfield Metro is the third station for the town of Fairfield, and will hopefully alleviate some of the parking difficulties at the original Fairfield station, where the waiting list for a parking pass supposedly has over 3,000 names. It is estimated that Fairfield Metro will serve 2,500 to 4,000 daily passengers. In terms of amenities the station is currently bare-bones, but when the whole metro center is complete it is planned to have a coffee shop, newsstand, florist, bank, dry cleaners, various restaurants, a health club, and even a park.

Although the town didn’t get to name their station (otherwise we’d probably be calling it Black Rock), they did get to name the new street on which the station lies. Fairfield Metro can be found on 61 Constant Comment Way. And yes, it is named after the tea.


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