NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A fire on a track near Trenton on Monday afternoon brought most of NJ TRANSIT’s service to a halt for the evening rush hour and caused delays that lasted for hours.

Penn Station was packed with commuters on July 1, 2019, after a train fire suspended Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT service. (Credit: CBS2)

There was a lot of frustration at Penn Station as people waited hours for their trains to be called, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reports.

The National Guard and police had to block people from entering the tracks and, later, kick people out due to overcrowding on the few trains that did arrive.

“I got here and there were, like, 10,000 people. It looks unsafe,” Linden resident Donna Borowicz said. “There’s no message, no real information.”

“I didn’t even know there was a delay,” Philadelphia resident Andrew Cruz said.

A piece of Amtrak railroad machinery caught fire near Hamilton on July 1, 2019. (Credit: CBS2)

According to NJ TRANSIT, an Amtrak maintenance car caught fire around 3 p.m. in Hamilton, New Jersey, just outside Trenton.

No one was injured, but all Amtrak and NJT trains headed to and from that direction needed to be held for about two hours until 5:30 p.m.

That caused residual delays of up to 90 minutes well into the evening.

“This is awful. It happens all the time for us. It’s really tough getting in and out of the city,” Cranford resident Scott Keating said.

Some people on social media said they had to spend hundreds of dollars on ride share services to get home in time to pick up their children, and it’s not the first time.

“Last week, it was, like, 45-minute delays, which was frustrating,” Edison resident Areema Jhaveri said.

Just this past Thursday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy boasted about a slight increase in on-time service and pumping $50 million into NJ TRANSIT next year to hire more train engineers and improve communication with customers.

“They’re already seeing [less cancellations and delays]. You have to look at the data. It’s already happening. You’ll see a quantum increase, I think, by the fourth quarter of this year,” Murphy said at the time.

It’s not clear if Tuesday morning rush hour service will be impacted by Monday’s fire.

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