Metro-North, is a suburban commuter rail service that is owned and operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), an authority of New York State. Metro–North runs service between New York City to its northern suburbs in New York and Connecticut. Trains terminate in places respective to their branch line; these locals include, in New York State, in Port Jervis, Spring Valley, Poughkeepsie, and Wassaic; in Connecticut, in New Canaan, Danbury, Waterbury, and New Haven.
The MTA also operates:
the New York City Transit Authority buses and subways;
the Long Island Rail Road;
and the “plum” of the former empire of Robert Moses: the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority.
Three Metro-North lines provide passenger service on the east side of the Hudson River, all of which terminate at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan: the Hudson Line, Harlem Line and New Haven Line. An additional line, the Beacon Line (sometimes referred to as the Maybrook Line), is owned by Metro-North but is out of service.
The Hudson and Harlem Lines terminate in Poughkeepsie and Wassaic, New York, respectively. The Hudson Line is electrified as far as Croton-Harmon and the Harlem Line is electrified as far as Southeast (Brewster) .
The New Haven Line is operated through a partnership between Metro-North and the State of Connecticut. Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) owns the tracks and stations within Connecticut. MTA owns the tracks and stations within New York State. MTA also performs routine maintenance and provides police services for the entire New Haven Line, its branches and stations.
Goodbye, Solari. Hello ‘Grant’ New Haven Union Station
The New Haven Line has three branches providing connecting service in Connecticut- the New Canaan Branch, Danbury Branch and Waterbury Branch. At New Haven, the Shore Line East connecting service, which is run by ConnDOT, continues east to New London.
Amtrak also operates intercity train service along the New Haven and Hudson Lines. Because the New Haven Line is also part of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, high-speed Acela Express trains run on the line from New Rochelle to New Haven Union Station
Service on the western side of the Hudson is operated by New Jersey Transit under contract with the MTA. Metro-North also provides service on trains west of the Hudson River that originate from Hoboken Terminal, New Jersey. This service is jointly run by Metro-North and New Jersey Transit, under contract. There are two branches of the west-of-Hudson service, the Port Jervis Line, and the Pascack Valley Line. The Port Jervis Line is accessed from two New Jersey Transit lines, the Main Line and the Bergen County Line.
Before the Metro-North service was put in place, most of the trackage east of the Hudson River and in New York State, was owned by the New York Central Railroad. The New York Central initially operated three commuter lines, two of which ran directly into Grand Central Terminal. Metro-North’s Harlem Line had been initially a combination of trackage from the New York and Harlem Railroad and the old Boston and Albany Railroad, running from Manhattan to Chatham in Columbia County.
The NY Central also operated the four tracked Water Level Route which paralleled the Hudson River heading to Chicago via Albany. The 20th Century Limited used this route. The other major commuter line was the Putnam Division running from a terminal station at 155th Street in The Bronx to Brewster, New York. Passengers would transfer to the IRT 9th Avenue Line to reach destinations in Manhattan.
From 1848 until 1969 the New Haven Line, including the New Canaan, Danbury, and Waterbury branches, was owned by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (NYNH&H).
Commuter services west of the Hudson River, which make up today’s Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines, were initially part of the Erie Railroad. The Port Jervis Line, built in the 1850s and 60’s, was originally part of the Erie’s mainline from Jersey City to Buffalo, New York. The Pascack Valley Line was built by the New Jersey and New York Railroad, which became a subsidiary of the Erie. In 1956 the Erie Railroad began a somewhat successful merger with its rival the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, and in 1960 they formed the Erie Lackawanna which became responsible for the services.
In 1968, the New York Central and its rival the Pennsylvania Railroad formed Penn Central Transportation with the hope of revitalizing their fortunes. In 1969 the now bankrupt New Haven was also combined into Penn Central by the Interstate Commerce Commission. However, this merger eventually failed, due to large financial costs, government regulations, corporate rivalries, and lack of a formal merger plan. In 1970 Penn Central declared bankruptcy, at the time being the largest corporate bankruptcy ever declared.
Many of the other Northeastern railroads at the time, including the Erie Lackawanna, were following Penn Central into bankruptcy and so the federal government decided to fold these lines into the newly created Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) in 1976. Conrail was initially given the responsibility of operating the former commuter services of these fallen railroads including the Erie Lackawanna’s and Penn Central’s. MTA operation and the formation of Metro-North
Conrail was created by the U.S. Department of Transportation as a private for profit freight only carrier. Even with state subsidies, Conrail did not want the responsibility of taking on the operating costs of the money losing commuter lines, an act they officially were relieved from by the passage of the Northeast Rail Act of 1981. Now it was required that state owned agencies both operate and subsidize their commuter services. Over the next few years commuter lines under the control of Conrail were gradually taken over by state agencies such as the newly formed New Jersey Transit in New Jersey, and the established SEPTA in southeastern Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston. The MTA in conjuncture with the Connecticut Department of Transportation formed the Metro-North Commuter Railroad in 1983.