New York

NJ Transit Commuters Face Big Delays on Buses, Trains After Sweeping LIRR Suspension

There were widespread delays for NJ Transit commuters on buses and trains due to signal problems and the closure of part of the NJ Turnpike over fog

What to Know

  • 60-minute delays were reported out of Port Authority Friday evening after an accident and fog led to closures on the NJ Turnpike
  • NJ Transit rail riders were dealing with delays out of Penn Station; some were nearing an hour, including one involving a broken down train
  • LIRR riders faced temporary suspensions early on during the commute, and sporadic delays were reported on multiple lines

Rail and bus commuters are continuing to deal with a bevy of issues out of Penn Station and Port Authority on Friday, with delays of up to an hour out of Port Authority and widespread delays on multiple NJ Transit rail lines, including one sparked by a broken down train and another caused by signal problems. 

As the evening rush kicked off, trains running to and from New Jersey were subject to delays of up to 30 minutes because of signal problems. Crowds at Penn Station were so heavy that riders were being asked to consider boarding on the Eighth Avenue side. Some trains were on standby, while others were delayed or canceled.

A broken down train outside Penn Station led to a 40-minute delay for a train behind it, according to a commuter aboard the second train. Other train delays were caused by signal problems, a disabled train and a trespasser. One commuter said they'd been sitting on a stationary train for an hour. 

As delays compounded on several lines, NJ Transit said cross-honoring would remain in effect with buses and private carriers until the end of the service day. But complaints kept rolling in on Twitter from commuters stuck on trains and platforms. Some saw their half-hour commute stretch to well over an hour. 

Mike Bowser was one of dozens of people tweeting about being stuck on a NJ Transit train. “I’m gonna miss my second job which I have to have in order to pay for your monthly pass,” he tweeted.

"So, I’m stuck on an @NJTRANSIT train outside of Newark. This will be the 2nd time this week train issues result in my not seeing my daughter before her bedtime," Sharon Feder tweeted.

Joe Casella was more succinct: “FML. I just wanna get home.”

On top of the train problems, there were also bus problems Friday evening. Departures out of Port Authority Bus Terminal were subject to “extensive delays” of up to 60 minutes due to the closure of parts of the New Jersey Turnpike caused by an earlier accident on the western spur and poor visibility from fog.

Photos on social media showed heavy crowds on several levels of the busy bus terminal. Commuters described hot conditions with hundreds of people waiting in line for buses "that don't appear to be coming."

"They are literally telling people to fill the buses to the max cause who knows when the next one will come due to an NJ Turnpike closure," one user tweeted.

"Nightmare of a commute home on a Friday! Avoid #PORTAUTHORITY," Meg Phair tweeted. 

Long Island Rail Road commuters faced their own set of delays and headaches on Friday. LIRR service between Penn Station and Jamaica was suspended due to Amtrak signal problems Friday afternoon but resumed a couple hours later. 

Earlier in the day, a broken-down train along the LIRR Ronkonkoma branch disrupted service. A big problem for the 48,000 riders on the Ronkonkoma line is that there's only one track for miles, so if a train breaks down on the track, service is totally disrupted. A $387 million project is underway to lay a second track over a 13-mile stretch on existing LIRR land between Farmingdale and Ronkokoma. Work should be done by August.

The problems come a day after overhead wire problems at Penn wreaked havoc on the morning commute for New Jersey Transit riders on Thursday. A few hours later, a stuck drawbridge in Secaucus brought service between New Jersey and Manhattan to a halt.

And on Monday, NJ Transit service was delayed significantly by a train that broke down in one of the Hudson River tunnels.

This week Amtrak began a second round of track repairs at New York Penn Station. Officials said the disruptions would not be as significant as during the first set of repairs during last year's so-called "Summer of Hell."

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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