That's great news for those commuting from points north of Suffern.
One of the reasons that service will be restored sooner is that the MTA apparently was able to recycle materials that were washed downstream by the flash floods that wreaked havoc on the rails and ballast.
In addition, maintenance of way workers were able to salvage significant amounts of stone and ballast (the loose rock that is placed between ties to stabilize them), which had washed away, but was deposited sandbar-like not too far away.That further translated into a cost savings on service restoration.
An engineering assessment by AECOM earlier determined that it would take about 150,000 tons of stone - roughly 5,000 tractor-trailer-sized dump trucks - to stabilize the track bed and shore up the river bank for the long term.
Much of the 150,000 tons of stone that had to be moved was salvaged from the stream bed by Metro-North maintenance of way employees using bulldozers and backhoes. This effort greatly reduced the amount of stone that had to be purchased and delivered.
In all, there were 50 washouts that added up to 2 miles of right-of-way gone in the 14-mile stretch between Suffern and Harriman that was most severely damaged.
The MTA is just trying to get the service restored; they're not going about improving the service beyond what was there originally. The improvements, which include better drainage and protection against flooding along the Ramapo River are to continue once the segment is reopened to revenue traffic.