New Jersey Transit Train Derailment Promises Nightmare Evening Rush Hour

New Jersey Transit, Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road adjusted service or said passengers may experience delays through tonight’s commute after a NJ Transit train derailed in New York City’s Penn Station complex.

The incident occurred at about 10:50 a.m. and is blocking access to nine of 21 station tracks shared between the three rail carriers, Dan Stessel, an NJ Transit spokesman, said in a telephone interview.

No injuries were reported by the 300 passengers on the train, NJ Transit said in a statement. Workers were still trying to put two of the eight cars on the train that was derailed back on the tracks as of about 4 p.m., Stessel said. The nine tracks are expected to be blocked through tonight’s commute, he said.

NJ Transit is advising customers to expect 20 to 30 minutes of additional travel time, Stessel said. Long Island Rail Road said in a statement that it expected delays of about 30 minutes.

Midtown Direct trains will begin and end at Hoboken Terminal instead of in Penn Station, NJ Transit said on its website. PATH trains will accept NJ Transit tickets and passes between 33rd Street, Hoboken and Newark Penn Station, according to the website.

The derailment led Amtrak to temporarily suspend its Empire Line service between New York City and Croton Harmon, New York, that railroad said in a separate statement.

‘Rail Bridge’

Amtrak said in the e-mailed statement that it had a single track operating into and out of Penn Station, which would cause delays on Acela Express and Northeast Regional service.

Amtrak and New York’s Metro-North Railroad coordinated a “rail bridge” between Grand Central Terminal and the Croton Harmon station, the statement said.

Amtrak customers leaving New York should use bus service from Penn Station to Grand Central Terminal, where they may access a Metro-North train to Croton Harmon. Northbound and westbound Amtrak train service will resume from there, said Cliff Cole, an Amtrak spokesman. Passengers traveling into the city will be able to take a Metro-North train from Croton Harmon to Grand Central Terminal, he said.

NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line may have “significant delays” and commuters should expect “crowding conditions” because some trains will be combined, the website statement said.

Family Pickup

Private-carrier buses also will honor rail tickets and passes on trips to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the agency said.

Bill Kadel, a 23-year-old financial representative at Northwestern Mutual, said he had to have a family member pick him up from Hoboken because he was unable to take a train to Dover from Penn Station.

“I had no way of getting home,” he said.

Bhargov Khatana, 30, said his train from the Metropark, New Jersey, station on NJ Transit to Penn Station was delayed.

“I couldn’t go to the office,” said Khatana, an insurer consultant. “There were a couple of meetings I had to cancel. We should have an alternative method of travel.”

The derailed train left Penn Station at 10:45 a.m. and was scheduled to arrive in Dover, New Jersey, at 12:23 p.m., NJ Transit said.

NJ Transit said the train derailed just before it entered a tunnel at Penn Station, and passengers were taken from the train and walked to the station.

NJ Transit’s last derailment occurred in February 2007, Stessel, the spokesman, said in an e-mail.

To contact the reporters on this story: Craig Trudell in New York at; Natalie Doss in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at

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