New Jersey

More Transit Problems Pile Up, and They Have Nothing to Do with Penn Station

LIRR, Metro-North, NJ Transit and the subways all experienced problems this week

What to Know

  • Signal problems caused delays for subway riders Thursday morning, and PATH had signal issues as well
  • It was the fourth morning in a row of widespread disruptions to multiple transit systems around the region
  • Most of the rail disruptions this month were unrelated to the repair work at New York Penn Station

It turns out that Penn Station is the least of commuters' problems in this transit Summer of Hell.

Thursday brought suspensions and delays on the PATH and Newark AirTrain, more cancellations on NJ Transit due to manpower issues, ticketing problems and a rash of subway delays due to sick customers and signal failures. 

After earlier delays, PATH service was suspended around 11:15 a.m. between World Trade Center and Newark in both directions because of a signal problem, authorities said. Service had resumed, again with delays, after an hour.

It was the fourth day in a row that the region's transit system saw widespread problems, though none of them had anything to do with the long-feared rehab work at New York Penn.

NJ Transit's MyTix app, which lets people pay their fares on their phones, went down Thursday morning. The rail service urged people to tell their conductors the app was down, but social media was still full of outraged customers who were forced to pay a penalty cash fare nonetheless. 

In Newark, 70 people were pulled off an AirTrain after power issues. There were no injuries, but service was suspended and passengers had to take buses instead. The airport tweeted service had been partially restored shortly after 11 a.m., but said customers should use buses "until we are fully operational." 

In Manhattan the B and C subway lines had delays due to signal problems at 81st Street, while in Queens a sick customer at Kew Gardens caused problems on the F line.

NJ Transit cancelled one train early Thursday due to an engineer shortage; that same issue caused nearly 30 cancellations the last three days. 


Thursday morning's rush-hour delays followed a rash of problems during Wednesday night's commute home. In both cases a heat wave only made the misery that much worse -- one subway rider waiting for the train in Queens even fell onto the tracks after he was overcome by heat. He's expected to be OK. 

Straphangers were confronted with signal and power problems on six lines in Manhattan and Brooklyn on Wednesday evening as Metro-North riders were stuck on a disabled train. 

In Manhattan, signal problems at 72nd Street caused service changes for 2 and 3 trains. Regular service resumed by 5:15 p.m. In Brooklyn, loss of Con Edison power caused signal problems at 59th Street, leading to service changes to D, N and R trains. Regular service resumed by 5:20 p.m.

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Photos posted to Twitter at the start of the evening rush showed packed crowds at the Barclays Center subway station, which serves the D, N and R lines.

Some commuters told News 4 New York that they had to wait for N and R trains at the 59th Street station in Manhattan for more than an hour and a half. Danny Sierra said he had to get off a train and go upstairs to get some fresh air. 

"It was like an hour wait on the train, it's crazy," Sierra said. "Everybody's sweating, can't breathe, got a diabetic, got all type of people on the train. There's something wrong with the MTA." 

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Meanwhile, Hudson Line commuters were stuck on a Metro-North train for nearly 90 minutes shortly before 4 p.m. after the train they were on became disabled at 101st Street.

Metro-North spokesman Aaron Donovan said it's unclear why the train was unable to receive power. The train was towed to 125th Street, where the passengers disembarked shortly after 5 p.m. Donovan said lights and air conditioning were on in the train the entire time. 


Earlier on Wednesday, more sporadic disruptions struck NJ Transit and the Long Island Rail Road, the third straight day of problems moving commuters around the region. 

NJ Transit cancelled at least 19 buses Wednesday morning due to what it described on its bus Twitter feed as an "operational issue," which a spokeswoman explained was the reallocation of buses to accommodate new summer schedules. 

NJT also suspended the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail between 2nd Street and Port Imperial Wednesday due to a reported chemical leak in Hoboken. The multibillion-dollar line is a key artery bringing New Jersey commuters to and from Hoboken. Service was restored after about 70 minutes. 

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Separate from all of those issues, a mechanical problem forced the cancellation of a rush-hour train out of Newark Penn Station Wednesday morning. 

A frustrated passenger is captured screaming at a LIRR worker inside a booth at Jamaica Station Tuesday evening. Riders caught in the Penn Station delays had just disembarked at Jamaica to hear a last-call announcement for an Oyster Bay train. They ran to the platform and rushed to catch the train only to have the doors close on them —...

But it wasn't just New Jersey; the LIRR continued to have its own difficulties early Wednesday. At least three trains were late due to single tracking, mechanical issues or late-arriving connections, and a fourth was cancelled.

That followed Tuesday's twin crises; in the morning an empty train derailed and shut down Long Beach branch service, and in the evening, signal problems near Jamaica snarled rush hour. 

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