NJ Transit service changes after train gets stuck in tunnel near Penn Station

About 1,200 New Jersey Transit passengers made it safely to Penn Station after the train they were on got stuck in a tunnel for several hours on Friday, a spokeswoman said.

Northeast Corridor train #3850 from Trenton came to a stop in the south tube of the Hudson Tunnel around 3:30 p.m., NJ Transit and Amtrak officials said. Amtrak said the passenger count was 400, but a NJ Transit spokeswoman disputed that number.

Brian Scheckner, who claimed to be on the disabled train, said he and fellow passengers were stuck for nearly three hours. Without power for air conditioning, the temperature had steadily risen and passengers got antsy, he said.

Six people were treated for non-life threatening injuries, FDNY Deputy Chief Tom Currao said at a news conference Friday night.

Amtrak, which is responsible for the maintenance of the tracks and equipment in and around Penn Station, said the train was disabled due to an overhead power problem.

Power was restored to the tunnel around 9:13 p.m., an Amtrak spokesman said. NJ Transit was still warning of two-hour delays in and out of Penn Station around 10 p.m., but said regular service was restored by about 12:20 a.m. Saturday.

NJ Transit commuters expressed outrage and fury over the delays on social media. Many customers were demanding reimbursements for their April monthly tickets.

“@NJTRANSIT @NJTRANSIT_NEC so is it time to get my monthly ticket refunded yet?” tweeted Gabriella Raccuia.

“Buyers remorse: buying a monthly ticket and today marks 3rd major issue with NJ Transit in 2 weeks,” tweeted Andy OShaug.

NJ Transit Executive Director Steven H. Santoro released a statement Friday night offering an apology to customers. 

“To our customers who were significantly delayed today on Northeast Corridor train #3850, and other customers who were impacted by this incident, we deeply apologize for your experience, and I would like to hear from you,” Santoro’s statement said, adding that the company was working with Amtrak to determine the cause of the power problems.

Customers who wish to share their experience with NJ Transit can call 973-275-5555 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. or via njtransit.com.

Friday’s incident comes on the heels of two minor train derailments at Penn Station in recent weeks.

On March 24, an Amtrak train derailed and sideswiped a NJ Transit train at Penn Station. NJ Transit said there were minor injuries among customers and crew, but the train made it to the platform where everyone got off safely.

Less than two weeks later, on April 3, a minor NJ Transit train derailment resulted in four days of service changes for the railroad as well as the Long Island Rail Road while Amtrak made repairs.

Amtrak’s CEO later admitted that its staff knew about the track issues at Penn Station before the derailment but did not immediately do anything about them.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have since called for an independent review of Penn Station’s infrastructure, and how Amtrak maintains it.