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NJ Transit Resumes Service at Penn Station After ‘Minor Derailment,' But Frustration, Anger Remain

Riders were stuck on trains and in stations for hours as NJ Transit worked to address the derailed train just outside Penn Station

What to Know

  • NJ Transit service in and out of Penn Station in New York was suspended for hours Thursday due to a minor slow speed train derailment
  • NJ Transit says no customers were in the car of the train that derailed just before entering the Hudson River Tunnel Thursday evening
  • No injuries were reported. About a 1,000 riders, including crew, were on the train

UPDATE: "If People Are Upset, I Don't Blame Them": Gov. Phil Murphy Addresses NJ Transit "Minor" Derailment

A "minor" train derailment near Penn Station caused a massive mess for NJ Transit riders when service to and from the terminal was suspended for hours Thursday evening. 

Though service resumed a few hours later, delays carried into Friday morning and actually got worse as the morning went on. 

NJ Transit says a train on the Montclair-Boonton line departed Penn Station at 6:10 p.m., and shortly afterwards, just before entering the Hudson River Tunnel, one set of wheels on a car derailed, according to NJ Transit. No one was in the derailed train car, but there were about 900 to 1,000 riders on the rest of the train. No one was hurt in what the rail called a "minor, slow-speed derailment." 

Train pain has become an almost daily affliction for New Jersey Transit passengers, but news out of Newark today could mean a smoother ride — however it may take a year to get there. Brian Thompson reports.

One person stuck on the derailed train says passengers were told that it would be "some time" before they would be towed back to the station. Two hours later, the derailed train was finally brought back to Penn Station. 

People getting off that train said everyone were mostly calm, and they felt no physical impact on the train from the derailment, but were frustrated after having been stuck for nearly two hours. 

"A few people had some panic attacks, but we were pretty much there for two hours until the fire department came and rescued us," said Patrick Whitaker.

The FDNY says they transported one person for a non-life threatening injury. They didn't specify the nature of the injury, but multiple passengers said a woman on the train had a panic attack.  

And inside Penn Station, crowds grew as anxious commuters waited for trains to start moving again. 

It's at least the second incident this week that NJ Transit riders has experienced heavy delays. On Tuesday, a police investigation on the Morris & Essex line caused some rush-hour trains to stall on the tracks, trapping riders for hours. 

And once again Thursday, passengers didn't hold back in their fury at NJ Transit.

"Your new ad should be #NJTransit, if you take it, you better have a plan B," tweeted Michelle Harkavy.

"I've taken dozens of different train systems, and you are, categorically, the absolutely worst service I've seen in the first world; doubly so for accepting this as status quo," fumed @essercode. 

"'Minor' derailment is probably not the term you wanna go with when the entirety of your operations shut down as a result. Just saying," said Diane Marie. 

A raging Mets fan from New Jersey almost missed the opening game because of a train derailment.

Other passengers commonly complained of being stranded on hot, crowded trains with no air circulation. NJ Transit riders coming into the city angrily tweeted about missing the Rangers game or a Broadway show. 

Melissa Tate of Matawan, asked to describe her frustration level with NJ Transit on a scale of 1 to 10, replied, "50,000." 

Alongside the anger, pure desperation seeped through: "This is the most ridiculous episode yet with NJT!! We should get a refund and more!" one person tweeted. "I’ve been on this train for 3 hours!! Let’s us into Penn already! We get that there’s traffic but we’re stranded out here with no options to leave!!!!! Please someone!!!"

"We pay $220 a month go back and forth between here, I work in midtown," said Whitaker. "It's ridiculous."

"NJ Transit has to do better," he said. 

At least a few people were able to make the best of the situation, or at least find some humor in it. 

Gov. Phil Murphy has said he doesn't blame NJ Transit commuters one bit for their "anger or cynicism," adding "Let there be no doubt that the commuter is on the pedestal now and they have every right to be upset."

As of 10 a.m. Friday, delays were up to 45 minutes for trains in and out of the station. For real-time transit updates, scroll below. 

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