College Student Falls Asleep On NJ TRANSIT Train, Wakes Up On Board In Train Yard

Claire Connelly Went Through Ordeal After Escaping Florida Ahead Of Irma

RARITAN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — For one local college student, escaping Hurricane Irma was a cinch compared to what happened when she got home to New Jersey.

As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported, Claire Connelly, 18, said she fell asleep on an NJ TRANSIT train on the final leg of her journey – and ended up locked in a train yard.

Connelly thought she dodged a bullet, evacuating Florida just before Irma this weekend.

“I had to drive six hours to Jacksonville. I got on my plane in Jacksonville, went to Michigan, and then from Michigan, went to Newark,” she said.

It turned out that was the easy part. It was taking NJ TRANSIT from Newark that turned traumatic.

“I literally just fell asleep on my train. I’m in a train yard,” Connelly said in a video she posted to Twitter. “Literally, there’s no one else.”

The Florida Gulf Coast University student had gotten on the train around 4 p.m. Wednesday, heading to where she thought was Middletown near her parents’ home in Highlands.

But she dozed off while studying and woke up some 40 miles away in Raritan.

She found herself all alone on board – in a train yard.

“I started freaking out and I was like: ‘What am I doing here? Why? Why didn’t I get off the train? Why didn’t anyone wake me up?’” she said.

Connelly said she had no idea where she even was. She ran up and down the train, looking for anyone.

“I was screaming and banging on these windows and doors, like, ‘I’m on the train! I’m on the train!’”

She said after about 20 minutes, she called 911, and less than 20 minutes later, the police got her out. Her parents came and picked her up in Raritan, just before 6 p.m.

Connelly said she posted the video on Twitter while driving home. NJ TRANSIT then responded, writing, “Hello, are you still on the train?”

“I was like, no. I had to call the police, but thank you,” Connelly said.

CBS2 reached out to NJ TRANSIT several times trying to find out how such a thing happened, but did not hear back. Connelly said she will not be taking the train again anytime soon.

Connelly also said she wrote to NJ TRANSIT asking for an explanation, but she says she has not yet gotten a response.

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