NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An NJ TRANSIT train was stranded with no power or operational heat for nearly two hours Tuesday, after live power wires came down on the train and caused delays of up to 45 minutes on several lines.
As CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, NJ TRANSIT commuters filed back onto the train platform when their ordeal was over, hoping finally to get home after being stuck on the disabled train.
The westbound train had departed from Newark Penn Station on the Northeast Corridor at around 6:15 p.m. when about 1,000 passengers, including 1010 WINS’ MarketWatch reporter Larry Kofsky, heard something fall onto the train.
A video clip showed the train hitting some power lines after leaving Newark Penn Station with a planned final destination of New Brunswick. Amtrak confirmed the power lines had been loosened by the frigid temperatures, and they ended up lying on top of the train.
“Tore the wires down,” a passenger said. “This is almost a daily occurrence on New Jersey TRANSIT.”
The train immediately came to a halt and was left with no power, according to 1010 WINS.
Photos taken by a passenger and sent to CBS 2 show that it was dark inside the car, with emergency lights being illuminated after the train lost power.
“These wires were live, and as a result the train could not safely move, and customers were unable to exit the train,” NJ TRANSIT spokesman John Durso Jr. told WCBS 880. “As a result, Amtrak crews were brought in to help us address the situation.”
Durso initially said the train “remained heated.” But NJ TRANSIT later told CBS 2 the heat was, in fact, cut off along with the power — although it did not reach the point where the cold became dangerous.
Kofsky said the train cars began to grow colder as the remaining heat from when the train had been in operation dissipated.
The conductor announced a service interruption, but gave no estimated time of restoration, passengers told 1010 WINS.
“They kept announcing the progress, which was no progress at all,” another passenger said. ”Yeah, it’s a bad day today.”
Passengers reported seeing workers walking along the tracks, inspecting the damage.
It was not until after 8 p.m. that the train backed into Newark Penn Station and let all the passengers off. In all, the passengers were stranded for an hour and 45 minutes.
And while commuters said such problems on NJ TRANSIT trains are not new, it is frustrating, making the brutally cold day even worse.
“I have a baby at home,” passenger Asha Mathew told CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco. “Really frustrating for me.”
“We are as commuters are doomed for this to happen over and over, as you can see,” added Eric Nacht.
For several hours, NJ TRANSIT Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast, and Raritan Valley trains were still subject were delayed 30 to 45 minutes. But service was back to normal with residual delays as of 11:40 p.m., and the incident will not affect the morning commute, NJ TRANSIT said.
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