72 hurt in Metro-North collision in Conn.; service affected

72 hurt in Metro-North collision in Conn.

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Crowds at the Green Farms station on the Metro-North New Haven line. Crowds at the Green Farms station on the Metro-North New Haven line.
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Officials in Connecticut say it was amazing that there were no fatalities or more injuries after two Metro-North trains collided around 6 p.m. in Fairfield Friday evening.

A train from New Haven, bound for Grand Central Station, derailed east of Fairfield station and then hit a westbound train on the next track.

The crash happened between the Fairfield and Bridgeport stations and sent 72 people to the hospital.

Dozens of cops, medics, firefighters and other emergency workers responded the scene of the accident, near Commerce Avenue and State Street, of what the MTA called a "major derailment." 

Crews could be seen taking passengers away on stretchers. Some responders used ladders to climb over the chain-link fence separating the street from the tracks.

According to some officials, the new Metro-North Railroad cars built with higher standards may have saved lives. 

"The damage is absolutely staggering; I feel that we are fortunate that even more injuries were not the result of this very tragic and unfortunate accident," said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. 

Blumenthal credited first responders, saying their "quick reactions and heroic efforts undoubtedly saved lives." 

Officials don't know when Metro-North service will be restored. There is no westbound service being provided beyond Bridgeport due to a train incident in the vicinity of Bridgeport. Eastbound service will run to South Norwalk.  

The crash has caused Amtrak service to be suspended in both directions between New York City and Boston. 

Gov. Dannel Malloy said commuters should make plans for alternative travel through the area and urged them to consult the state Department of Transportation website for information. 

"I think this is going to be with us for a number of days," the governor said. 

The National Transportation Safety Board said investigators arrived Saturday and are expected to be on location for the next week to 10 days. Investigators will look at the brakes and performance of the trains, the condition of the tracks, crew performance and train signal information, among other things. 

According to a St. Vincent Medical Center spokeswoman, 46 people from the crash were treated there, with six of them admitted. All were in stable condition, she said. 

A Bridgeport Hospital spokesman said 26 people from the crash were treated there, with three of them admitted. Two were in critical condition and one was in stable condition, he said. The other 23 were released. 

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said the disruption caused by the crash could cost the region's economy millions of dollars. 

"A lot of people rely on this, and we've got to get this reconnected as soon as possible," said Finch.

According to MTA, Metro-North train service remained suspended between South Norwalk and New Haven until further notice.

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