Culprit in massive Oct. 4 train delays: A squirrel

October 20, 2012 2:14:25 PM PDT
Thousands of commuters along the Northeast Corridor apparently owe their travel headaches earlier this month to a small, bushy-tailed creature.

Amtrak officials tell The Record of Woodland Park that the Oct. 4 signal problems that delayed more than 100 trains during the evening commute was caused by a squirrel that came into contact with a circuit-breaker.

Nearly 100 NJ Transit trains and 30 Amtrak trains were affected. Some were canceled, and others were delayed.

The damaged breaker caused electrical transformers to trip and a signal that guides locomotive engineers to go dark.

Train experts say animals rarely cause widespread train delays but that this squirrel wasn't the first.

A Metro-North Railroad spokeswoman tells the newspaper a 45-minute delay in May occurred when a squirrel caused a transformer to short.

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