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Evening Commute Will Be a Mess After NJ Transit Derailment, MTA Warns

By  Trevor Kapp Janon Fisher Aidan Gardiner and Gwynne Hogan | April 3, 2017 9:48am | Updated on April 3, 2017 2:56pm

 The train derailed in the transit hub about 9 a.m., officials said.
The train derailed in the transit hub about 9 a.m., officials said.
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DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp

MIDTOWN — An NJ Transit train derailed in Penn Station Monday morning, leaving five people hurt — and setting the stage for extensive delays out of the transit hub during the evening commute — in the second such incident in less than three weeks, officials said.

"Because of an NJ TRANSIT derailment at Penn Station this morning, the Long Island Rail Road anticipates cancellations and delays for trains departing Penn Station between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. today," the MTA advisory warned.

The agency canceled or rerouted 26 LIRR trains for the evening rush, officials said in a statement, sending some to originate at Atlantic Terminal.

At Penn Station, the LIRR will have to share some of the tracks that it normally uses during the evening rush to allow NJ Transit trains to operate after train 3926, which was carrying about 1,400 passengers and crew, slipped off the track as it was pulling in to Penn Station about 9 a.m., according to FDNY and NJ Transit officials.

The LIRR planned to cancel 18 trains from Penn Station from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and have eight other originate at the Atlantic or Jamaica terminals, according to the MTA. Tickets were being cross-honored at Penn Station for the 1, 2 3 and A, C, E lines. 

Commuters can check the MTA's website for a list of canceled trains. 

There was no westbound service from Jamaica to Penn station from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Riders were advised to take an E train into the city. 

Westbound Port Washington trains were terminating at Woodside from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Commuters could take a 7 train from Woodside for service to Manhattan. 

It wasn't immediately clear why the middle part of the train derailed, but fire officials said one of the wheels was missing on an affected train.

"One of the trains is missing a wheel. We're not sure exactly how that happened. It's definitely under investigation," FDNY Chief Roger Sakowich said at the scene.

It was not immediately clear whether the wheel came off before or after the derailment. NJ Transit officials said that the cause of the derailment was still under investigation.

Five people suffered minor injuries in the derailment, officials said. Two of them suffered back injuries, officials said.

Monday's derailment came on the heels of a similar one in which an Amtrak train lurched off the track as it pulled out of Penn Station and scraped a passing NJ Transit train, injuring two people, officials said.

Officials said it took nearly two hours to get people off the train on Monday — which fire officials blamed on cars and doors being misaligned after the trains "pinched" up on one another — officials said.

"It took approximately two hours to bring this under control, a little more tedious than the incident we had two weeks ago," said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala.

NJ Transit suspended all service in and out of Penn Station immediately afterward, but resumed some service by 2:45 p.m., officials said.

Amtrak reported delays on its Northeast Corridor line.

"We would encourage our riders to leave early or to leave late. That rush hour is going to be very, very tough," said the MTA's acting chairman, Fernando Ferrer.

"When something bad happens like this, it will affect a lot of people," he added.