Rail commuters Monday were caught in a real train of unfortunate events.
As early as just before noon, NJ Transit advised commuters to expect crowded conditions and delays throughout the evening rush hour because of a derailment near New York's Penn Station -- then Amtrak and the LIRR also experienced delays because of the domino effect.
It all started when two cars of an eight-car a NJ Transit Midtown Direct train had a slow-speed derailment after departing New York's Penn Station at 10:50 a.m. Monday, according to officials.
No one was injured, but NJ Transit's Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line trains were left with delays of up to 60 minutes that extended into the rush hour.
And the resulting chaos left Amtrak's Northeast Corridor trains into and out of New York City are running 15 to 30 minutes behind schedule.
The Long Island Rail Road then decided to help out by lending some tracks to commuters bound for the Garden State, and now, guess what? Everyone's delayed.
"It's frustrating," said Raj Kulkari, who got an e-mail alert at the office that his train to Princeton would be delayed. "Hopefully this won't be as bad as some others recently."
LIRR officials canceled several eastbound trains, which made the ones that were running more crowded. Passengers were advised to take a subway to Brooklyn, where Flatbush-based LIRR trains were heading to Long Island on schedule.
New Jerseyans also had a backup plan: they could take buses, boats or PATH trains to Hoboken.
"This is New York City," said Nayade Tezanos, trying to go to Garfield by way of Secaucus. "It happens all the time. But I'm still tired of it."
For alternatives, Midtown Direct trains will operate to and from Hoboken, and PATH and NJ Transit buses are cross-honoring NJ Transit passes.