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Trains, Lights Coming Back Online in the Hudson Valley

Some commuters were able to board Metro-North trains this morning and more households and businesses have the lights back on - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has more on the Hurricane Recovery effort.

The familiar rumble of trains for the first time in four days - another signal of recovery from Sandy's devastating hit:  Passengers left Stamford early this morning. Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders says train service was delayed because not all tracks were in service and there were other storm-related problems.

Amtrak's Northeast Corridor remains closed down: spokesman Cliff Cole says Amtrak has resumed modified service between New Haven CT and Boston, Mass. - and Newark NJ south to Washington - and there are hopes one of the Hudson River Tunnels will be open for tomorrow.

CSX, which owns the tracks from Poughkeepsie to Schenectady, did not return calls in time for broadcast.

Marjorie Anders has no clear idea as to when Metro-North will be fully operational: crews are working feverishly to restore track beds washed away along the old New York Central water level line. She says some of the most serious damage involved the railroad's electric supply.

Anders adds rail switch motors were also "fried" and need replacing - utilities are pressing on in their efforts to get customers' electricity back:  Con Edison says hundreds of wires are still down throughout Westchester where 166,000 customers are still dark. The utility expects to make significant progress in the next two days.

NYSEG and Orange & Rockland Utilities report crews are getting service back on as quickly as possible... their customers in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties report 131,000 outages, while farther north in Ulster, Orange, Sullivan and Dutchess counties about 50,000 customers don't have power. Central Hudson's John Maserjian says 85 Percent of the utility's customers are back online.

NYSEG president Mark Lynch issued a statement. "Today we are still fighting inclement weather . . . and the damage to our facilities appears to be much worse than it was following Irene." That restoration effort across the NYSEG service area took about eight days.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.