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Rail News: Amtrak

East Coast storm cleanup continues; Amtrak begins operating limited service in Northeast


East coast passenger railroads continued to assess Hurricane Sandy-related damage to equipment and infrastructure today, and restore some service in limited areas.

Starting today, Amtrak will provide modified Northeast Regional service between Newark, N.J., and areas south, including Virginia service to Lynchburg, Richmond and Newport News. Amtrak also will operate Keystone service trains between Harrisburg, Pa., and Philadelphia, and modified Downeaster service between Boston and Portland, Maine. In addition, some overnight services will be provided to and from the Northeast, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement.

Similar to other tunnel and rail operators in New York City, Amtrak crews are removing water and repairing track, signal and power systems within tunnels under the Hudson and East rivers.

"The amount of water intrusion into the tunnels is unprecedented ..., so a date for restoration of Amtrak service directly to/from New York Penn Station from either the north or south is not available at this time," Amtrak officials said.

As a result, there still will be no Acela service today in the Northeast Corridor, or Northeast regional service between Newark and Boston. From Newark Penn Station, there will be no connecting service to New York City, and service to the Newark Liberty Airport rail station remains suspended.

In the worst-hit areas of New Jersey and New York City, rail services provided by New Jersey Transit and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) railroads continued to be suspended until further notice, agency and government officials said. Limited bus service was available in New York City today. New York City subways are projected to be out of service for four or five more days, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in media reports. Service on both MTA Long Island Rail Road and MTA Metro-North Railroad remain suspended as damage assessment and repair work continues, MTA officials said.
New Jersey Transit has begun operating some limited bus service, but rail service remains suspended until further notice as crews continue to inspect facilities, infrastructure and equipment across all regions of the state, according to statements issued by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and NJ Transit.

Damage includes NJ Transit's Rail Operations Center, the railroad's central nervous system, which is engulfed in water. The center has suffered damage to its power supply systems, the emergency generator and computer system that controls the movement of trains and power supply, NJ Transit officials said.

Also in New Jersey, numerous downed trees across the rail system  have damaged overhead wires and signal wires. Rail washouts remain across the system, including on the North Jersey Coast and Atlantic City lines, and several rail stations are flooded, officials said.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced that the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) rail service between New York City and New Jersey remains suspended until further notice.

Meanwhile, the Maryland Transit Administration completed a "comprehensive" review of track conditions, catenary wires, parking lots, tunnels and power supplies, and determined that it is safe to resume light rail, MARC train and bus service on regular schedules starting today, officials said.

Also restoring service: the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (yesterday) and Virginia Railway Express (full service to resume today).

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/31/2012