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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Passenger rail systems offer New York, Washington support, aid


Nearly a week after the tragic attacks in New York City and Washington, transit systems in those cities strive toward a new version of normalcy, and are lending aid and support for those most affected by the terrorist actions.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority placed American flags on its entire fleet of 1,430 buses and American flag decals on all 766 Metro railcars. In addition to flying the U.S. flag at half-staff at WMATA headquarters, officials also have put an American flag and the words, "In Commemoration" on the system’s Passenger Information Display signs.

The morning of Sept. 14, employees brought thousands of items to contribute to the Pentagon’s rescue and recovery teams. A Metrobus — loaded with fruit, vegetables, cookies, bread, crackers, cheese, sandwich meat, muffins, donuts and bottled water — made two trips to the donation center.

Amtrak, too, is offering assistance. In addition to designating a train "Clara Barton Express" to deliver supplies to relief workers, the intercity passenger rail company is offering free passage to families of victims traveling to the affected areas. Amtrak is working with the airlines to identify family members.

In New York, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad have operated standard weekday schedules since Sept. 12.

New York City Transit — which reports no missing personnel or passengers, even though its tunnels were damaged by falling debris — is rerouting traffic around damaged areas.

The nation’s largest subway system also lost service indefinitely on the 1/9 lines between Chambers Street and South Ferry. Several other stations and lines are likely to be out of service during the weeks of rescue and clean-up.

By routing traffic around affected areas and extending other routes, NYCT officials believe the agency will be able to serve all of the city’s areas and provide access to downtown Manhattan.