Starting today, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit riders will be offered expanded service between New York City and New Jersey following massive cleanup and repairs in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The expanded, combined operation involves 24 Amtrak and NJ Transit trains per hour in both directions, or about 63 percent of normal weekday capacity, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement.
In addition, the expanded-service plan will double the present operating plan of 12 trains per hour between New York and New Jersey. A normal peak is about 38 combined trains per hour in both directions.
The opening of the East River and Hudson River tunnels last week reflected the "tireless efforts" of Amtrak and NJ Transit crews to restore service in the storm's wake, said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman. Amtrak and NJ Transit personnel had to drain more than 3 million gallons of salt water from the tunnels before they could be reopened.
"Each agency has committed all of its available resources to this recovery effort and we will continue to work together until full service can be restored," said Boardman.
A next step in the restoration plan is to repair damage to an Amtrak substation in Kearny, N.J. Flood damage to the power-generation source has substantially limited rail capacity on the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak officials said.
Until the substation is repaired, rail service into and out of New York Penn Station will continue to be limited. In the meantime, NJ Transit has implemented an extensive emergency bus and ferry plan to help relieve congestion along the corridor.
Meanwhile, a rail car loaded with relief supplies donated in Slidell, La., was delivered to New Jersey communities by Amtrak over the weekend to help boost recovery efforts. The idea for the "Train of Hope" came from Donna O'Daniels, president and CEO of the St. Tammany Parish Tourist and Convention Commission, and Kim Bergeron, director of cultural affairs for the city of Slidell, which was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
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