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Hurricane aftermath: Passenger-rail, subway service reopening gradually; USDOT provides $13 million in 'quick-release' emergency funds


Commuter-rail, light-rail and subway service is being restored gradually in New York City and New Jersey as the Northeast coast continues to dig out from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy.

Today, MTA New York City Transit restored limited subway service along segments comprising about half of the system's 26 lines, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) officials said in a prepared statement.

Continuing power outages mean there is no electricity for the third rail or signals south of 36th Street. As a result, there still is no service between 34th Street in Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn, they said.

Yesterday, MTA Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and MTA Metro-North Railroad began limited service, as well. LIRR began operating trains between Jamaica and Penn Station, while Metro-North offered hourly service on the Harlem Line between North White Plains and Grand Central Terminal. Both commuter railroads were scheduled to provide additional service today, MTA officials said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the MTA's subway, bus and commuter-rail services will be free today and Friday to encourage the use of mass transit.

"The gridlock we experienced yesterday shows that the New York metropolitan region is in a transportation emergency," said Cuomo.

Also yesterday, New Jersey Transit restored the River Line light-rail service between the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden and Trenton Transit Center. But the Hudson-Bergen and Newark light-rail services remain closed until further notice, NJ Transit officials said in prepared statement.

Operations will remain suspended until further notice due to "significant damage" across the state's transportation network, they said.

Meanwhile, Amtrak late yesterday announced it will provide modified Northeast Regional service between Boston and New Haven, Conn., and between Newark, N.J., and points south starting today.

Amtrak also will operate Shuttle service trains between Springfield, Mass., and New Haven; Keystone service between Harrisburg, Pa., and Philadelphia; and Downeaster service between Boston and Portland, Maine, along with additional overnight services to and from the Northeast. No Acela Express service will be available today for the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak officials said.

Amtrak plans to operate modified service to and from New York City starting tomorrow, with schedules to be announced later today, they said.

To help pay for recovery efforts, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced on Tuesday that $13 million in quick-release emergency relief funds are being made immediately available to New York and Rhode Island to help begin repairing storm-related damage. The USDOT-requested funds — $10 million from New York and $3 million from Rhode Island — are "just the first to arrive" at the department, and represent the first installment of federal-aid highway funds to help repair roads, bridges and tunnels in the two states, USDOT officials said in a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/1/2012