NJ Transit, Amtrak finish nightmare week with more delays and cancelations

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Saturday, June 22, 2024
NJ Transit, Amtrak now running with delays after nightmare commutes
Anthony Johnson has updates on delays for New Jersey transit going in and out of Penn Station.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A long week for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak ended with more delays and cancelations in and out of New York Penn Station on Friday.

Service was suspended for about two hours in the middle of the busy morning rush, which came after service was suspended for about three hours during Thursday's evening commute.

Commuters had to scramble Friday morning after an NJ Transit train got stuck in the tunnel of New York's Penn Station, and the ripple effect turned into a wave of delays and cancellations for both NJ Transit and Amtrak.

Before Friday morning's issues, it was already a rough start for Amtrak which posted several trains were canceled "due to an earlier service disruption" and the need to service equipment and reposition personnel. Announcements of cancellations for certain trains continued throughout the afternoon.

The changes come after a disastrous day of rail service disruptions and cancelations on Thursday afternoon on the Northeast Corridor.

NJ Transit and Amtrak service was suspended just before 3 p.m. on Thursday due to power issues. A malfunctioning circuit breaker caused the widespread issue, resulting in a loss of power on the tracks between New York Penn Station and Newark Penn Station.

An unrelated brush fire in the area complicated the repairs, according to NJ Transit.

This was the latest in a string of incidents that have adversely impacted rail commuters. On Tuesday, NJ Transit and Amtrak commuters experienced delays and cancelations due to overhead wire problems in the morning and later a stalled train outside Penn Station.

NJ Transit and CEO Kevin Corbett released the following statement Friday afternoon, and called the issues "unacceptable."

"We are as frustrated as our customers, and the frequency and impact these issues are having on our customers' quality of life is clearly unacceptable. Regarding today's incident specifically, we've had rail maintenance supervisors positioned at Newark Penn Station to inspect trains in light of the recent incidents. The train involved was inspected thoroughly before leaving Newark, including the pantograph, and no defects were found," Corbett said.

Corbett went on to say that they are working with Amtrak to identify root causes of the recent spate of incidents.

"For instance, Amtrak reported that yesterday's incident was caused by one of their circuit breakers impacting power between Philadelphia and New Haven," Corbett said. "What we can say is that we operate approximately 700 trains every weekday along hundreds of miles of track on 11 rail lines with the same equipment and these incidents are mainly occurring on just this one stretch of track on the NEC between Newark and New York. We continue to offer Amtrak our assistance to resolve the issue."

But perhaps a piece of good news to emerge from the difficult transportation week in the Garden State, New Jersey has a tentative agreement in place with the state's most profitable companies to temporarily pay higher taxes to fund NJ Transit.

Under the plan, the 600 corporations in the state that make at least $10 million a year in profits will pay a 2.5% tax on all earnings for five years.

In return, the state will not pursue restoring the sales tax to 7% from to 6.625%, a major point of contention for the businesses, who strongly oppose increasing the corporate tax rate.

Both the "transit tax" and a final state budget still need to be approved by the Legislature next week. The budget expires June 30.

ALSO READ | MTA stops construction on Second Avenue subway amid congestion pricing pause

Josh Einiger has details on the construction pause.


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