A utility says it could take two to three weeks to fix a broken circuit that has interrupted some East Coast rail service, but it's working on alternative power sources.
The problem snarled commutes from Connecticut into New York City. It also disrupted Amtrak service as far south as Washington.
A high-voltage feeder cable failed at about 5:20 a.m. in suburban Mount Vernon, N.Y.
Metro-North first halted service between Stamford and New York's Grand Central Terminal. Then it provided diesel-powered trains once an hour. Crowds packed the platform at the Stamford station.
Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders advised commuters to find another way into and out of New York.
"It will be crowded. It will be slow. Seek alternate means," she said in an email.
Irate passengers took to Twitter to vent and the head of a commuter advisory group complained that rail service was disrupted frequently over the summer for needed track work in New York. The incident on Wednesday, though not Metro-North's fault, adds to frustration among commuters, said Jim Cameron, a commuter advocate.
"It means commuters must have a plan B and a plan C," he said.
The state Department of Transportation reported significant traffic congestion on Interstate 95 on Wednesday morning. Traffic eased somewhat by early afternoon — from 20-mile backups to traffic jams a few miles long.
Amtrak, which runs along the same Metro-North corridor, advised passengers that service in the Northeast was operating with "significant delays." Acela Express service was suspended between New York and Boston and service between New York and Washington was operating with delays.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.