For two mornings in a row, local riders of NJ Transit train service into New York City have experienced frustrating delays.
However, Amtrak officials say the delays -- both of which occurred due to incidents in Amtrak-owned and -operated tunnels -- were unrelated. The incidents and resulting diversions and delays did point out the need for expanded capacity in tunnels to New York City, an Amtrak spokesman said.
This morning at 5:40 a.m., a train lost power in a tunnel en route to New York Penn Station, necessitating that Amtrak close the tunnel. NJ Transit diverted trains to Hoboken and implemented cross honoring of tickets across its system. Yesterday, a track condition in one of the two tunnels resulted in the closing of that tunnel.
Trains were running with delays of up to an hour in and out of New York City at 10:30 a.m. as Amtrak crews continued to repair wire damage in the south tunnel. NJ Transit customer service representatives were at New York Penn Station and Hoboken to assist riders. As of noon, delays had been reduced to 20 minutes. By 12:30 p.m., trains were reported to be operating on time.
Cliff Cole of Amtrak noted that only two tunnels handle 1,300 train movements per day between Amtrak and NJ Transit trains. "So when we have an issue in one tunnel, we have only one tunnel for all trains to go back and forth."
"We have the need for expanded capacity," said Cole.
Cole noted that the tunnels are more than 100 years old; however, the equipment in the tunnels is of more recent vintage.
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