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NJ Transit Train Derails at Penn Station Ahead of 'Summer of Hell' Repairs

By  Katie Honan and Noah  Hurowitz | July 6, 2017 10:07pm | Updated on July 7, 2017 7:56am

 NYPD officials entering Penn Station after an NJ Transit derailed on Thursday, July 6, 2017.
NYPD officials entering Penn Station after an NJ Transit derailed on Thursday, July 6, 2017.
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DNAinfo/Noah Hurowitz

NEW YORK CITY — NJ Transit service in and out of Penn Station was back on track Friday morning after a train derailment Thursday night suspended service for hours, according to a statement on the NJ Transit website.

The commuter line was "on or close to schedule," Friday morning, and Amtrak was running with residual delays of about 15 minutes, officials said. The disruption stemmed from the chaos Thursday night, which began when the lead car on an NJ Transit train with more than 150 people on board derailed as it arrived at Penn Station around 8:50 p.m., according to FDNY officials and passengers.

The derailment resulted in a total shutdown of NJ Transit trains in and out of the station and stranding countless bleary-eyed commuters at the station.

One passenger suffered minor injuries, FDNY officials said, and first responders managed to get the stranded passengers off just after 11 p.m., more than two hours after their ordeal began, according to passenger Sharif Ahmed, 28, of Brooklyn.

Ahmed, who said he takes this train several times a month, said passengers knew immediately what was going on when their train suddenly lurched to a halt.

"It happened really quickly," he said. "There was heavy rocking and then we stopped, and I think a lot of us knew right away what had happened."

Officials with commuter line Thursday night described the derailment as "minor," but for passengers stranded on the train for more than two hours, it was anything but minor.

"I commute from Brooklyn to New Jersey every day," said Luke Uttaro, 31. "It's a daily disaster trying to get to work."

Passengers were "pretty patient" and the lights stayed on as they waited to be escorted off the train, which took around two hours, he said. 

Uttaro was coming back to the city from his job in Secaucus when he felt his train thrust forward near the platforms. 

"It was a sudden jolt then we stopped moving," he told DNAinfo. "[We] were told it was a switch problem but everyone put together quickly it was a derailment." 

Credit: Luke Uttaro

According to announcements at Penn Station and officials, passengers heading to Newark and points west were being told to take PATH, with NJ Transit tickets being cross-honored.


Commuters waiting at Penn Station following an NJ Transit derailment. (DNAinfo/Noah Hurowitz.)

Commuter Jay Robertson was trying to get home to Trenton from his job as a patient liaison at Mt. Sinai Hospital when he was met with delays from the derailment.

"It's frustrating," he said. He was caught up in another NJ Transit derailment back in April, which caused him to be two hours late to work. 

"I feel like they're always spending money to fix the tracks but there keeps being derailments. What's going on? Are they ever gonna fix the problem, or are they making the problem worse?"

The latest commuting chaos comes days before track work is set to begin at Penn Station — which will become a "summer of hell" for commuters, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

The construction, which begins on Monday, will likely also cause further delays on the city's overstretched subways, an MTA chief warned Thursday. 


► 'Summer of Hell' Threatens to Snarl Subways in Brooklyn and Queens: MTA
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