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Rail News: Mechanical

NJ Transit train gets stuck in Hudson River tunnel for hours

The incident appears to have stemmed from a problem with the train's pantograph, according to Amtrak.
Photo – NJ Transit


A New Jersey Transit train carrying about 1,200 passengers late last week became disabled in the Hudson River tunnel between New York and New Jersey.

The train was stuck in the tunnel for almost three hours, the Asbury Park Press reported.

The April 14 incident appears to have stemmed from a mechanical problem involving the NJ Transit train's pantograph, Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert said in an email.

The incident wasn't caused by Amtrak's infrastructure, Tolbert said.

After the national passenger railroad learned of the disabled train in the south tube of the Hudson Tunnel, a rescue locomotive was dispatched to tow the train into Penn Station.

However, the rescue locomotive wasn't able to move the train due to damage to one of the pantographs on the NJ Transit locomotive. After Amtrak's engineering forces removed the pantograph, the NJ Transit train was able to move to the platform under its own power, Tolbert said.

"The safest course was for passengers to remain on board during this event instead of attempting an evacuation and Amtrak was in constant contact with first responders monitoring the conditions on board," he added.

The latest incident followed two recent derailments at New York City's Penn Station. Both of those derailments resulted from problems with Amtrak's own track, Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Wick Moorman said earlier this month.

In a statement released yesterday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spokesman Brian Murray said Amtrak was trying "to again divert attention from its failures" by suggesting the most recent incident resulted from new equipment on the NJ Transit train.

"Amtrak's diversions offer little comfort to anyone who spent more than two hours on Friday waiting to see first responders and more than three hours waiting to be rescued," Murray said. "Amtrak must sit down with NJ Transit and the other users of Penn Station and work out contingency plans that actually get people out of disabled trains as quickly as possible."

NJ Transit Executive Director Steven Santoro on Friday apologized to riders and said the agency was working with Amtrak to determine the incident's cause.