Thousands stranded during evening commute

July 24, 2008 10:03:50 AM PDT
It was a messy commute home for thousands of train riders Wednesday night.Service on the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line and MidTOWN DIRECT were suspended after Amtrak reported a low-voltage condition on the Northeast Corridor.

Even when service was restored, there were delays of nearly two hours and stations packed with stranded straphangers.

The incident began at approximately 4:40 p.m. As a result, affected trains were held at stations until Amtrak crews resolved the problem.

This was just the latest in a series of recent power problems on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor.

Lauren Gilbert of Washington, D.C., who was stranded near Newark aboard an Amtrak Acela train bound for Washington, said the delay was frustrating.

"We take the train to avoid the airport thunderstorm delays and we can't win. We're stuck," Gilbert said.

Passengers were being offered free water and soft drinks as they waited.

New Jersey Transit issued the following statement to customers:

NJ TRANSIT apologizes for the delays and inconvenience many customers experienced this evening.

At 4:35 p.m., Amtrak reported a "low-voltage condition" on the Northeast Corridor, meaning that there was insufficient power in the overhead lines to for trains to operate. As a result, rail service was immediately suspended on the Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Lines. All NJ TRANSIT trains operating on the Northeast Corridor were brought into the nearest station and held there to prevent stranding customers between stations. MidTOWN DIRECT trains that were not on the Northeast Corridor were redirected to/from Hoboken Terminal, instead of New York.