Calls For Second Tunnel Grow After Third NJ Transit Service Disruption This Week

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Trains are back on schedule for New Jersey Transit after a switch problem Friday disrupted morning service for commuters. 

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An Amtrak switch problem caused delays of up to 30 minutes for the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line and Midtown Direct trains in and out of New York’s Penn Station.

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Penny Bassett-Hackett, NJ Transit spokeswoman, says it took about 10 minutes to fix the problem.

NJ Transit riders endured three rush hour delays this week thanks to two separate derailments.

The first one happened Tuesday when a Trenton-bound train derailed as it was leaving Penn Station.

Crews worked overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday morning to repair a track that was damaged after the two cars derailed.

Commuters Wednesday morning faced delays of up to an hour because repairs weren’t finished.

The latest derailment took place Thursday night when an Amtrak derailment blocked NJ Transit trains from making it out of the train yard to Penn Station.

The tracks have all been repaired, but many commuters remain angry.

New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg is among those calling for the project to build a second tunnel to be revived.

Last year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie cancelled the Hudson River ARC Tunnel project that would have included two more tunnels under the river to relieve congestion.

Lautenberg released a statement saying “these delays are just going to become more commonplace in the future as a result of Governor Christie’s cancellation of the project.”

Christie agrees a second rail tunnel is needed, but says the project would come at too great an expense to the state.

What do you think about these latest problems with NJ Transit? Do you think a new tunnel is needed? Sound off below in our comments section…

  • Tom M

    The ARC project wouldn’t necessarily solve the problem, and everybody would complain when the price tag balloons to well over $15B and the project takes longer to complete than anticipated. The agencies need to work together -we can only hope that will happen- to build a second set of tunnels. A dead-end terminus that would be brought to a complete halt by something like this, possibly trapping people is not the answer.

    The NRPC was founded because of the dire state of passenger train service in the country -it does not make money. Subsidies received by Amtrak in it’s 40 year history equate to only a fraction of what has been invested in railroads run be European states or our country. Those who comment on the cost of such things rarely, if ever, understand how much it costs to run such an operation and keep it running that way.
    We need a second set of tunnels and a better station in NYC to run into. Will it happen in our lifetime? With the “it HAS to turn a profit” mentality and greedy politicians everywhere, no.

  • JMS

    New York is supposed to be the greatest city in the world and the fact that half the commuters who work there have to deal w/this one ancient shared tunnel is astonishing. to make matters worse, nj transit has to share the tunnel w/Amtrak, which is prolly the worst run passenger rail system in the world. The last time an Amtrak train arrived on time Broadway was still a prairie and the Dodgers played in Brooklyn. Good grief!!

  • Peter

    thanks David Brooks I will enjoy the helicopter ride instead!!!

  • David Brooks

    PETER – what an ignorant comment. Being overweight has nothing do with Gov. Christie’s decision to terminate the tunnel project – anymore than does being white…or being in his 40’s…or having brown eyes.

    Dislike or disagree with his politics and the decisions the Governor makes – as I do – but don’t attack him personally. He knows he has a problem and has acknowledged his struggles publicly. He also has a family that loves him, and a constituency who put him in office just the way he is.

    You want to make a difference, call or write his office and tell him to reconsider this project…I did – and it took less time that writing this did. His office number is 609-292-6000.

  • vy

    The NY-NJ Port Authority was set up in 1912 to construct a rail freight tunnel from NJ to NYC to releave the long trip around sending trains to Albany, then down to NYC. They never did this.
    If a new tunnel is contructed now it should be a mixed use tunnel that could handle NJ Transit and Amtrak train during the day, and freight trains during the night (10pm to 5am). Charge the freight RR’s normal rates for using this bnew connection, and add that extra revenue to help pay for the tunnels.
    Construction is so expensive these days that we must llok at mixed use facilities to expand the revenue base of these type of very needed infrustructure.
    Such a trans Hudson freight – passenger rail tunnel would get thousands of local trucks off the roads between northern NJ freight rail yards and freight customers in NYC, LI, Westchester and south western CT.
    These tunnels are expensive, but will be in service for over 100 years, as the existing tunnels have been.
    The first connection between Manhattan and Brooklyn took 3 times the original eastimates of how long it would take to build, and cost over 15 times the original cost estimates, but thye Brooklyn Bridge has been in constant service for almost 130 years, and with regular maintainence will last ta least another 130 years.
    These rail tunnels must be looked at the same way.

  • Peter

    it won’t happen while fat boy Christie is in office!!!!

  • pamelinda argan hyde

    Congress set up Amtrak in the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970.“The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (better known as Amtrak) is a for-profit corporation that operates intercity passenger rail services in 46 States and the District of Columbia. In 40 yrs it has not been profitable., although it has been given
    $40 billion in federal subsidies (tax dollars) .
    Change the union rules that make it necessary to pay of a “stoker” and other “extras”, or shut it down.

    As usual Congress is incapable of making an informed and logical decision. The money belongs to taxpayers, not Congress. We should get something for our money!

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