Power Outage Strands NJ TRANSIT Commuters Thursday Morning

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Four Manhattan-bound NJ TRANSIT trains got stuck near Penn Station Thursday morning, stranding hundreds of commuters — some for nearly three hours.

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Two NJ TRANSIT trains lost power in a Hudson River tunnel, with two other trains held up behind them, CBS 2’s John Slattery reported. Amtrak deployed diesel engines to remove the stalled trains from the tunnel.

The delays were caused by a power outage at around 9 a.m. The stranded passengers were pulled to Penn Station shortly before noon.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams With Passengers

As of 5 p.m., NJ TRANSIT’s website says “trains — including Midtown Direct service — are operating on or close to schedule into and out of New York.”

Amtrak customers also experienced delays between New York City and Newark.

What’s it like spending two hours stranded in a train tunnel under the Hudson River?

“The train just came to a complete stop and the lights remained on but there was no air conditioning,” Jason Small, a passenger on one of the stranded trains, told CBS 2.

“It was boring. It was a little stuffy. The ventilation was off. They opened the doors for a while,” Peter Seeger from Montclair told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams. “Talked to my seatmate. You know, it was conversational. A guy two rows in front was sharing candy with people all over, passing it around. It passed fairly comfortably. There was no panic.”

Mae Teixeira weathered it with a smile and some perspective.

“We’ve had the earthquake, the hurricane, and stuck in the tunnel,” she said. “What next? I guess we’re ready.”

NJ TRANSIT has been hammered with outages and disruptions lately, in no small part recently due to the damage left by Tropical Storm Irene. The Port Jervis line, which was devastated by Irene, only restored limited train service a week ago.

Even before Irene hit, NJ TRANSIT was stung by a series of disruptions, including two derailments and one switch problem all taking place within one week of each other in August. Amtrak was responsible for one of the derailments.

Do you think we need to improve rail infrastructure, and would you be willing to pay for it? Sound off in our comments section.

  • adam j. mack

    ”They need to address these problems wright away! !”

  • goblin

    For the amount of money they charge to use these trains, the service should be in reliable condition considering we have overpaid union workers at the helm.

  • Railroadbum

    I was one of those trains this morning. At the very start of the trip, we were told that the train would be delayed due to “low voltage” on “track one” which was the track we were on and the train crawled to Newark.

    By the time it got to Newark, it was 40 minutes late yet NJ Transit continued to run trains on this track with low voltage until power went out completely thereby stranding four trains in or near the tunnel.

    If track one had a serious power issue, why did NJ Transit continue to run trains on it for over 1 1/2 hours until something finally crashed the system? Trains on the other tracks were flying by in both directions.

    Those four trains should not have been on that track. They should have been re-routed earlier and the problem should have been isolated and repaired.

  • charles

    Well Sherman, deisel engines are not allowed into Penn Station so there would not be a spare on onsite to pull the train into the station even though it is only a mile, and there were 2 trains stuck in the tunnel and two just outside of the tunnel not to mention the trains backed up, up and down the line, so Sherman it is not just a matter of pushing them a mile into the station. I suspect Amtrak had to get one North and South of the station, secure a path into the station both north and south, and find places to put the trains. And they are Amtrak’s tracks, this has nothing to do with NJT. Do your due diligence before popping off next time.

  • Jason Small

    Hey guys – you got my name wrong, sorry – but it’s Jason Small (not Smalls) and I just wrote a blog with some photos about the experience here:


  • Steve

    Someone explain to me, with all of the highly paid fantastic Union men and women on the job 24/7, this stuff continues to happen? Why does it take 3 hours to find a diesel engine to bump a dead electric 1 mile into the station? I’m all ears….

    • Morris Bergen

      [1] By contract, NJT isn’t allowed to divert a crew from a canceled train for a rescue move. They have to find somebody to do it on overtime, usually on a day off.

      [2] That person then has to travel (while on the clock at time-and-a-half) to where the diesel engine is and move it to where it’s needed.

      [3] If the rescue isn’t finished within a minimum amount of time (usually 6 hours) from when it started, then the rescue crew gets a meal break and the passengers must wait a little longer.

  • Non a chrisrie fan

    But Christie did cancel a needed tunnel that could take the pressure off the existing old system. So much for planning ahead

  • Dan

    NJ Transit leases the tracks from Amtrak. Many times, an Amtrak train is stuck and that affects NJ Transit trains. Switches and power lines are major issues. And no, I don’t work for NJ Transit, just a commuter. My issue is more about the types of commuters these days who are inconsiderate or have nasty habits.

  • AA

    Isn’t this the reason they charge such high fares and provide lousy service. Running late and having train/signal problems is the norm for NJT. Than you Chris Christie for approving the fare increase for the fantastic service NJT provides. How about they paying us back everytime there are delays.

    • snowdog

      Quite the opposite. This is why they will want to raise the fares even more. They’ll say, “Look how old the equipment is. It is in need of serious repair. To maintain safety and to fix the infrastructure, we need to raise fairs to cover our expenses. If not it will only get worse”. Any PR jobs open for the NJT? I got this down good.

    • propmgr

      The tracks and lines are owned by Amtrak, not NJT. Chris Christie did not authorize Amtrak fare increases.

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