MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Tuesday’s nightmare for NJ Transit riders comes less than 24 hours after commuters were trapped on another New Jersey train for nearly two hours.
Riders say it was crowded, hot, and one of the most frustrating rides of their lives so CBS2 went demanding answers to find out what happened.
“You think this is acceptable to treat human beings this way?” one woman was recorded yelling at train employees Monday.
The train on the Montclair-Boonton line lost power and stopped Monday night, leaving passengers with little light and no air circulation for two hours. For some the frustration boiled over.
“I want to get off the train,” the same passenger demanded.
“I understand that they are sending a rescue engine,” a conductor replied.
“Why didn’t they send one earlier? Why was that the last resort? Why are they walking across the bridge to check the engine in the back that may or may not work?” the woman continued.
The train left Penn Station at 6:10 p.m. double loaded due to an earlier cancellation. It lost power 15 minutes into the trip, trapping passengers until a rescue engine arrived to push the train. It finally reached Newark’s Broad Street at 8 p.m.
“I heard over the intercom like not to fight with the conductors, it’s not their fault,” commuter Jeff Timm said.
“It was on the bridge, so we couldn’t open the windows, we weren’t allowed to open the doors,” Peter Flagal added.
Gov. Phil Murphy says it’s his mission to improve the broken system, yet things like this seem to keep happening more often during his tenure.
“We heard from commuters that last night’s incident only increases their everyday anxiety that the system just doesn’t work. They want to know what is being done to improve the rescue operation and overcrowding on those train,” CBS2’s Meg Baker asked the governor.
“They’re incredible frustrated and so am I, but incidents like this drive people crazy and they drive me crazy… They were sitting there for 90 minutes and there’s no excuse for that,” Murphy said.
“I don’t have a specific forensic answer… to exactly what happened, but the notion of getting people – if there is a problem – getting them off the damn train to a safer place… is a huge objective of ours.”
Governor Murphy says the agency is focused on meeting a Jan. 1 federal deadline to install positive train control.
Riders, and even NJ Transit workers, CBS2 spoke to don’t buy it.
The majority of commuters said better communication about when help would arrive could have eased tensions during this latest debacle for the embattled rail service.