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New Jersey Transit’s Hidden Danger: Bad Brakes, Bare Wires, Rotten Parts

  • Inspections validate rider suspicions about faulty equipment
  • New level of scrutiny at nation’s most-fined commuter railroad
Homelessness At New Jersey's Busiest Mass-Transit Hubs

Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg

Federal inspectors found scores of New Jersey Transit train cars riddled with fire risks, faulty brakes and electrical hazards as they scrutinized the troubled railroad that brings 95,000 workers to Manhattan daily.

One engine was so defective it was declared unsafe, documents obtained under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act show. In some cases, NJ Transit’s own checks failed to identify faults brought to light a day or two later by Federal Railroad Administration officials. One was a locomotive with seized air valves and misaligned foundation gear that compromised the braking system’s very core. Another had broken equipment that provides traction on slippery tracks.