Signal problem in Pa. delays NJ rail riders

August 11, 2010 1:40:37 PM PDT
Train passengers along Amtrak's busy Northeast Corridor confronted delays of up to two hours after a fallen tree knocked out power and rail signals Wednesday morning, but the delays lessened significantly by afternoon.

The tree took down overhead power wires near Hamilton, N.J., around 5:30 a.m., causing delays between New York City and Philadelphia, Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole said. Amtrak trains were able to move again by 8 a.m. but at greatly reduced speeds.

By 4 p.m., there were residual delays of 15 to 30 minutes. And while the signals had been repaired, some related electrical work was ongoing.

NJ Transit said its Northeast Corridor commuter trains were running 15 to 20 minutes behind schedule and some trains might be canceled or combined for the evening commute.

During the morning rush, NJ Transit could not operate trains between Trenton and New Brunswick's Jersey Avenue station. Rail passengers were told to use other NJ Transit lines or buses, where their rail passes were accepted.

The commuter railroad was able to resume service by 10:50 a.m., although those trains initially faced delays of up to an hour, NJ Transit spokesman Dan Stessel said.

The disruption came nearly a week after Amtrak canceled trains south of Quantico, Va., because a CSX coal train derailed, blocking all tracks. Amtrak trains running between Washington and Newport News, Va., and from New York to Miami, Charlotte, N.C., and Savannah, Ga., were affected by the track closure.