Power line falls onto NJ Transit train

Josh Einiger explains the downed wire caused big delays and confusion.
January 7, 2014 8:20:23 PM PST
NJ Transit experienced bit delays on three lines after an overhead power line fell onto a train.

The delays affected the Northeast Corridor, the North Jersey Coast Line and the Raritan Valley Line.

The train left Newark Penn Station at 5:45 p.m. and was en route to New Brunswick. It somehow got caught up in a power line just outside the station at 6:15 p.m.

There were 1,000 passengers on board.

The power line was live, so crews needed to first shut the power off, then untangle the line from the train and the tracks. Amtrak crews were on the scene to help.

Amtrak says the extreme cold weather caused the overhead power line to sag. They're not sure if the line fell on its own or if the train pulled it down, that's under investigation.

The train made its way back to Newark Penn Station so passengers could safely exit.

Newark's Penn Station turned to pandemonium, when after nearly two hours of no service, started up again all at the same time with trains on the wrong tracks, passengers on the wrong trains, and frustration all around.

"They tell us to go here, then they tell us to go here. We have changed tracks no less than three times," said Liz Martinez, a passenger.

That was all just the aftermath of the earlier situation.

"We're heading down the track and all of a sudden we hear this big bam, crash, it sounded like we hit a rhino," said John O'Sullivan, a passenger.

John O'Sullivan and a thousand of his closest friends spent nearly two hours stuck on the train, just south of Newark, thanks to the overhead power lines which fell right on top of them.

That meant no power, which meant no heat.

"It wasn't completely cold because there was a whole mess of us crammed in the car so it was animal heat," O'Sullivan said.

"There's enough heat here from everyone's anger and frustration, the windows were actually seething from everyone kind of mad," said Brandon Anderson, a passenger.

Passengers entertained themselves by tweeting out pictures of their plight. "Send wine," said one, before the train was reversed back to the platform, and they all disembarked into chaos.

Repairs needed to be made to two of the five tracks in the area. One is already back in service. The other one will be shortly. The morning rush is expected to be normal for Wednesday.

ONLINE: njtransit.com