What to Know
- A mounted electrical junction box damaged a NJ Transit train, causing the agency to suspend service on the Gladstone Branch Wednesday
- The transit agency was initially quiet about the work being done, and local officials said crews were repairing a century-old retaining wall
- It was believed the wall had been spewing chunks of concrete onto passing trains, but NJ Transit says the junction box is behind the damage
New Jersey Transit announced regular service will return to the Gladstone Branch on Thursday, a day after the agency said it was shutting down the line indefinitely for “emergency repair work” at the Summit station.
In an alert on its website Wednesday morning, NJ Transit said rail service along the Morris and Essex lines would be suspended until further notice due to “ongoing inspections which need to be performed during daylight hours.” A few hours later, the agency said service would resume Thursday morning.
NJ Transit was initially mum about the work being done, leading Summit officials to speculate that the repairs were sparked by a disintegrating retaining wall that stretches through the station and to the west of it for several hundred yards.
However, in a release Wednesday evening the agency said damage to a Gladstone Branch train led to the repairs, and that the damage was caused by a mounted electrical junction box, not the crumbling retaining wall.
“The investigation determined that this junction box was the cause of previous train damage near Summit station occurring in recent weeks, initially believed to be loose concrete debris,” the release said.
NJ Transit said the type of rail car and its slow speed through the Summit station contributed to the damage.
Earlier Wednesday, multiple inspectors for NJ Transit could be seen walking the tracks at the station. It appeared they were trying to determine the structural integrity of the wall, which was built more than a century ago.
A couple of weeks ago, damage to a NJ Transit train temporarily suspended service to Gladstone, according to NorthJersey.com. The damage was minor and service had since resumed on the line.
Last week an engineer consulted by NJ Transit discovered areas of loose concrete on the wall and temporary wood braces were installed on it, NorthJersey.com reported.
NJ Transit Executive Director Steve Santoro told lawmakers at a hearing late last month that a plan to repair the wall has been in the works and that the first phase would be finished by the end of October.
The Gladstone Branch splits from the Morristown line at the Summit station and runs for 12 stops thereafter, ending in Gladstone. Thousands of commuters have been affected by the line's temporary closure.
NJ Transit said rail tickets and passes are being cross-honored on Lakeland buses to the Port Authority Bus Terminal through Wednesday. The agency said commuters may also drive to Bridgewater or Somerville to board Raritan Valley line trains; or drive to Newark Penn Station to board trains to New York Penn Station.
NJ Transit Gladstone passes and tickets will be cross-honored on all NJ Transit rail and bus lines through Wednesday, the agency said. Commuters can check NJTransit.com for the latest information or call customer service at (973) 275-5555.