Nor'easter's Powerful Winds, Downed Wires Turn NJ Transit Commute Home into Nightmare

New Jersey Transit commuters grew frustrated and weary as they waited on packed platforms in the rain and squeezed onto crowded trains that crawled during the evening rush hour Monday.

When high winds from a powerful nor'easter knocked down wires in Linden earlier in the afternoon, NJ Transit and Amtrak was forced to suspend all service that ran through those tracks. That included NJ Transit's North Jersey Coast and Northeast Corridor lines, and Amtrak's Acela and Northeast Regional lines. 

Heavy winds in Jersey City Monday tossed around a hanging scaffolding around, banging it against a building. Credit: Bruno Boni Oliveira

New Yorkers Wrestle With Wind, Rain as Nor'easter Bears Down

NJ Transit and Amtrak eventually announced service was restored but cautioned customers that it would be significantly slower due to speed restrictions along the Linden portion of the tracks. 

But customers were annoyed to find just how delayed their commute home would be. 

"Cold and rainy," tweeted Vivian Myers, showing a photo of commuters huddled underneath overhang on a rainy NJ Transit platform at Metropark. "Train is able to go to Trenton. Seems that the crew can't do the hours to get us home???? So we are kicked off." 

Sarah Hunter tweeted a video of masses of commuters inching along a platform in the rain, with umbrellas out and parka hoodies up: "@NJTransit this is incredibly unsafe. Three and a half hours to metropark to be trampled trying to get off." 

At Newark Penn Station, customers were packed shoulder to shoulder as they waited for their trains amid delays and cancellations. 

One man aboard a train to Hamilton, New Jersey, shot video from inside, telling NBC 4: "This train has not moved in 20 minutes. Even then it only moved a few feet." 

NJ Transit said in a statement, "Amtrak personnel worked to clear the wires as quickly as possible, however, power was lost to the signal system, forcing trains to proceed at dramatically reduced speed through the area.

"This resulted in numerous trains being delayed at both Newark Penn Station and New York Penn Station, with significant crowding at stations along that route." 

NJ Transit says Amtrak crews are still working to restore the signal system in the Linden area, but if the work isn't completed before the morning rush hour, passengers may again experience delays due to the reduced speeds in the area. 

Tracks were briefly flooded at Hoboken Terminal in the afternoon but officials said it didn't affect service.

Waves battered the New Jersey coast as a nor’easter approached. Brian Thompson Reports.
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