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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Transit responds to tragedy


"Try Transit Week" took on new meaning Sept. 11 when tragedies in New York City, Washington and Somerset, Pa. grounded all air transport nationwide and untold scores of people scrambled to get home — or at least out of metropolitan areas of major cities construed as possible next targets.

Here’s how agencies responded as events unfolded, as well as their attempts to return to normalcy:

Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon planned to launch its recently finished Airport MAX with a celebration at Portland International Airport; the airport closed and the celebrations was canceled.

Sound Transit offered extra Sounder commuter rail and ST Express bus service to assist people leaving the Seattle area.

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority entered a "high state of alert" in its facilities, according to a prepared statement. Personnel not critical to MARTA’s operations were sent home, while the agency’s police department cancelled all leaves and training to redeploy personnel as the need arose.

Bay Area Rapid Transit planned to celebrate its 29th anniversary; instead, the agency notified riders it was providing additional security and eliminating direct service from Fremont and Richmond into Daly City. Rest rooms were closed at all stations, and all trains and platforms underwent inspections.

Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas, started outbound commuter bus service early and opened all HOV lanes to all outbound traffic.

Amtrak restored passenger rail service at 6 p.m. EDT, but additional security measures are contributing to system-wide delays.

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s bus and rail service returned to normal for Sept. 12 morning rush hour, and the agency planned to open its station at Hopkins International Airport when the airport reopens.

Chicago Transit Authority announced late Sept. 11 that it planned to provide normal rush hour service, excluding the Blue Line to O’Hare International Airport, which would unload all passengers at Rosemont — only O’Hare employees would be permitted airport access.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Sept. 12 reports that all buses, trackless trolleys and trains would run on or near schedule, except those areas on the commuter line undergoing regularly scheduled maintenance work.

New Jersey Transit is operating regular service into and out of Penn Station New York and Hoboken Terminal; bus service would operate only within state boundaries; Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and Newark City Subway would operate on a regular weekday schedule; and the agency is cross-honoring bus, rail and light rail passes.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority announced that all routes would operate on regular schedules except CCT paratransit, which would make only medical and work trips.

Maryland Mass Transit Administration is operating all light rail service according to schedule, including routes to Boston’s Logan International Airport and New York’s Penn Station; Metro service also is operating according to schedule, MARC commuter rail is operating its Brunswick and Camden lines on a holiday schedule, and Penn Line on a normal schedule.

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority reports that most New York City Transit subway service has resumed, although stations in Manhattan from Canal Street and south of Canal Street will be bypassed, and no NYCT express bus services are running; Long Island Rail Road is operating regular service, as is Metro-North Railroad.

Virginia Railway Express is operating its "S" schedule Sept. 12, but expects to return to regular, normal service Sept. 13.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority opened as usual at 5:30 a.m. EDT and plans to close at midnight. MetroAccess paratransit service is operating a limited service for those needing chemotherapy and dialysis only; Metrobuses that normally serve the Pentagon’s Metrorail station bus bays instead are serving Pentagon City station, while the Pentagon’s bus bays remain closed at the request of Pentagon officials. The Pentagon Metrorail station is open to Pentagon employees only. Officials anticipate opening National Airport Metrorail station at 3 p.m. local time.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/12/2001