Some Service Restored Sunday Night, But Officials Recommend Alternate Transportation

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A PATH train coming into a Hoboken station struck the abutment on Sunday morning, causing multiple injuries, authorities said.

The accident happened at the Erie Lackawanna terminal around 8:30 a.m. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but city police said it appears that a mechanical failure is to blame. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are investigating.

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PATH train service into and out of the station in Hoboken, just across the Hudson River from New York City, was suspended for about 11 hours because of the crash, but some service resumed on at least one of the station’s three tracks around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, giving officials hope that the morning commute wouldn’t be as hectic as initially believed.

However, it was unclear when all three tracks would be back in service. Travelers were being urged to allow extra time even though additional bus and ferry service would be provided and most agencies planned to honor each other’s tickets.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck on the accident

There were 34 injuries altogether and those passengers were treated for non-life-threatening neck and back injuries at three different area hospitals: Hoboken University Medical Center, Jersey City Medical Center, and Christ Hospital.

Passengers on the train, which had departed earlier in the morning from New York City, said it had been a routine trip until they suddenly were knocked around by the impact.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola reports from Hoboken

“People were stunned, but nobody was really going crazy or anything,” said Tom Gordon of Jersey City, who was riding in the train’s front car with about 15 other people. “I didn’t know what had happened at first.”

Gordon, who was headed home from his job as a security person at a New York City apartment building, said he was half-asleep as the train pulled into the station on track No. 2. But he was quickly awakened and jolted from his seat by the crash.

He was taken to Hoboken University Medical Center for treatment of minor arm and rib injuries and left the hospital Sunday afternoon with his arm in a sling.

“I just want to get home,” he said while waiting for his wife to pick him up.

Hoboken PATH Accident

A person is being transported on a stretcher to an area hospital. (Credit: Kristin Thorne/CBS 2)

Witnesses described the scene as the station as “controlled chaos,” saying people were mostly calm but very concerned for the injured. Zimmer praised the efforts of emergency responders, both from Hoboken and surrounding communities who answered their call for assistance.

“Everyone did a great job,” she said.

A passenger named David said the train hit with a quick bang, but there wasn’t any chaos afterward.

“Mostly, there was concern for each other. People were walking around, asking ‘who was hurt?’ ‘Are you okay?'” he said.

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The Port Authority said they hope to restore service to a second track for the Monday morning commute, but that they were anticipating at least one of the three tracks would remain out of service for repairs.

Officials also said that the elevator to the platform would be inaccessible, and that commuters requiring elevator service would not be able to access the PATH platform at Hoboken.

New Jersey transit said it would be providing increased bus service for the morning commute and will be cross-honoring PATH tickets. NY Waterway said they expected to have sufficient capacity on their ferries to meet increased demand, and that boarding would be expedited by accepting cash in lieu of ticket purchases.

All other train services, including NJ Transit, were operating as scheduled.

LINKS: Weather Alerts | Traffic & Transit | PATH | NJ Transit | MTA

No official statement has been made.

Allison Portney of Rockland County, N.Y., was walking just outside the station to catch a New Jersey Transit train home when she saw many people slowly emerging from the station. Others were being treated by emergency responders from Hoboken and other nearby communities.

“Most of (the injured) were walking, but they all looked pretty shaken,” Portney said.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were aboard the train.

The PATH train accident isn’t the only problem on the rails in the Tri-State, either.

Long Island Railroad commuters will have a difficult morning commute after an Amtrak train derailed in the East River Tunnel. Officials said they were expecting 10- to 15-minute delays.

The Amtrak train was not in service when it derailed at about 1 p.m. Sunday.

There will be conbined trains for the Monday commute, and LIRR officials said the railroad expects to cancel at least 10 trains during those hours.

Long Island resident Dustin McSwane said he was going to stay in the city with friends instead of boarding his train to Riverhead.

“My back-up plan is to utilize whatever resources I have here and stay here…not even go back to Long Island, not even go back and deal with more of the hassle and the stress,” McSwane told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

Please stay tuned to as the story develops.

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