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Work will slow Metro Rail in the coming weeks

WBFO File Photo

If you ride the Metro Rail to work, leave early. Beginning Tuesday, construction work inside the tunnel will slow trains for over the next month.The Metro Rail system is now past 30 years of age and parts of it are wearing out or showing signs of an aging system.  That's why the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is systematically re-building the rail cars.

The latest project is replacing the overhead power wire, the catenary, between Allen-Medical Campus Station and Humboldt-Hospital Station.  But in order to conduct the work and keep the system operating, trains will only be able to use one track. That could mean delays of anywhere from six to 15 minutes.

"It's like everything that's 30-years old, it requires regular maintenance," said NFTA Executive Director Kimberly Minkel. 

"So to keep it in its best operating condition and keep everything safe and secure, it's maintenance to put it in top running efficiency."

The work must be completed by the middle of March. Minkel said that will allow the NCAA basketball tournament to be played in First Niagara Center March 20 and 22.

After that time, more work is planned, including more modifications to prepare for the return of cars to Main Street, a project that will also slow service.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.