Okay! The special timetables are posted on the Metro-North website
. These show the direct Harlem Line and New Haven Line trains to the station.
- Weekday afternoon games: no direct service, as we had expected.
- Weeknight games: Direct service from the game as follows: 3 Harlem Line trains making all stops (except Kensico Cemetery) between Mt. Vernon W. and Southeast; 2 inner New Haven Line trains and 3 outer New Haven Line trains.
- Weekend games: Direct service to and from the game. 3 Harlem Line trains to and 3 from, all covering most of the inner two thirds of the line. 5 New Haven Line trains to and 5 from.
Add this to the previously noted Hudson Line service, and the shuttles to GCT/125th, and we're talking about a level of service that surpasses anything that any other MLB team has in terms of regional rail service. Let's have a look at just how tremendous this service is, shall we?
In my opinion, the best way to get to or from a major sporting event is by rail. Large volumes of people can move without getting stuck in traffic. And you're brought to and from the game in an atmosphere of mutual camaraderie with the other fans. So passenger rail access to baseball stadiums (stadia for the plural if you want to be true to the Latin) is a question I found to be really interesting. Using Google maps, I tried to identify all of the MLB stadiums that have a passenger railroad station within walking distance. (Note that this does not
include subway or light rail systems, which one really ought to look at for a more complete picture. But this is a railroad forum, and so my mini-study looked at regional/commuter rail and intercity rail only.)
10 of Major League Baseball's 30 stadiums are within walking distance of a regional/intercity rail station, as follows:
(Also worth noting: Metra's Southwest Service and Rock Island District tracks go right by the White Sox' U.S. Cellular Field, but there is no station there. Also there are tracks extending beyond Coaster's San Diego terminal toward the Padres' Petco Park, but again, no station.)
- Camden Yards to MARC's Camden Station = 250 feet
- Fenway Park to MBTA Commuter Rail's Yawkey station = 535 feet
- The Oakland A's Coliseum to Amtrak's Oakland Coliseum/Airport station = 850 feet
- L.A. Angels' Stadium to the Anaheim station shared by Metrolink and Amtrak = 900 feet
- Yankee Stadium to Metro-North's Yankees-E. 153rd St. station = 1,425 feet
- The San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park to Caltrain's San Francisco terminal = 1,550 feet
- Citi Field to the Long Island Rail Road's Mets-Willets Point station = 1,565 feet
- The Colorado Rockie's Coors Field to the Denver Amtrak station = 1,775 feet
- The Seattle Mariners' Safeco Field to King Street Station in Downtown Seattle, served by Sounder and Amtrak = 2,160 feet
- The Toronto Blue Jays' Rogers Centre to Toronto Union Station served by GO Transit, VIA, and Amtrak = 2,185 feet
Even though there are 10 stadiums with rail access, not all of these offer convenient service to the game. First of all, Amtrak's Denver station is served by one train a day in each direction (the California Zephyr). When you eliminate that stadium/station combo, you are left with 9. From what I could tell by the online schedules, only Metro-North and the LIRR operate special trains specifically for baseball fans. In addition, MBTA Commuter Rail has a weekday train that makes a special stop at Yawkey on game nights. (Sorry, it doesn't stop in Darien.) Beyond those three, I could not find any other railroads that operate special trains or make special stops for baseball fans. That does not mean that fans can't still use the normal service to get to the games, if the schedules allow.
And that can be, ahem!, hit-or-miss. Despite having the shortest distance between stadium and station, Orioles fans can't get to a weekday game by MARC train. They can't get home from a weeknight game using MARC, and there is no service on weekends. The Mariners and the A's fans both have between one and a half dozen trains to and from afternoon games, but won't get service home from night games. Angels fans will have one or two trains to and from any game using Amtrak, but don't get any Metrolink trains from a night game, to a weekday afternoon game, or to or from a weekend game. Red Sox fans have at least two trains to and from any game along the Framingham/Worcester Line. San Francisco Giants fans have frequent service to all weekday/night games and from weekday afternoon games, but had better catch the 10:40 p.m. train unless they want to wait for the last train of the night, at midnight. They also have hourly service to and from weekend games. Blue Jays fans have at least hourly service to and from all games along the Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West lines, but no service on the other five GO Transit lines except for departures from weekday afternoon games. The LIRR offers terrific service to and from all Mets games no matter the time of day or night, but if your destination is along any branch other than the Port Washington, you need to change at Woodside (and the LIRR stops extra trains there for that as well).
All of which is to say: the level of service that Metro-North is providing to this new station -- the frequency, the number of destinations, the number of lines served with one-seat rides and the square miles of territory those lines cover -- is unsurpassed on this continent. My hat is off to everyone involved in the capital planning and operations planning for this project, not to mention those dispatching and operating the trains.
Now that the MTA got a bailout, hopefully Metro-North can keep those M1a cars in use for the shuttle service.