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Penn Station Reopens After Signal Malfunction Causes Travel Nightmare

By Nicole Bode | November 21, 2012 6:09pm | Updated on November 21, 2012 7:45pm

NEW YORK — Train service from Penn Station is back up and running with delays after the station shut down to incoming and outgoing passengers during the height of Thanksgiving rush hour Wednesday night because of signal problems, the MTA said.

"Access into Penn Station has been restored," the MTA wrote on its Twitter account. "Penn Station had been closed due to crowded conditions caused by an earlier service suspension."

On the Long Island Railroad, limited eastbound service resumed about 7 p.m., with regular eastbound and westbound service resuming with delays about 45 minutes later, the MTA said.

Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains were running with delays of 60 to 90 minutes, representatives said.

The service problems began shortly before 5:30 p.m., when a signal just outside the station cut off, preventing incoming and outgoing trains from safely accessing the station, according to MTA spokesman Salvatore Arena.

The mounting backlog of passengers crowding the station triggered MTA police to shut the concourse down as a "safety precaution," Arena said.

Amtrak officials wrote at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday that they were able to temporarily restore service because of an "alternate power source."

"All service to and from New York Penn Station is delayed after a commercial power failure to the compressors, which disabled the use of track switches," officials wrote. "Amtrak crews have temporarily resolved the issue with an alternate power source."

Arena said the MTA had run extra LIRR trains during the day Wednesday, reducing the normal evening rush.

The service outages also affected Amtrak, LIRR and NJ Transit, which use the same switches, according to the city's Office of Emergency Management.

"So much for 'busiest travel day of the year'- penn station shut down. Sitting on a stuck train at St. Albans. Love the LIRR," Twitter user

@irenechangkwon wrote.