New York

Commuters, Mets Fans Face Travel Nightmare After NJ Transit Derailment Wreaks Havoc at Penn Station

No serious injuries were reported in Monday morning's rush hour derailment, but major service disruptions were expected to complicate travel through the evening

What to Know

  • No serious injuries were reported in Monday's derailment, which happened at the height of the morning rush
  • Delays and cancellations continued Monday evening and NJ Transit said NEC and NJCL trains would operate on a holiday schedule Tuesday
  • Late last month, an Amtrak Acela slipped off the tracks at NY Penn and bumped an NJ Transit train; no one was hurt in that case either

Mass transit riders, including thousands of Mets fans who flocked to Citi Field for opening day, are dealing with a nightmarish evening commute after the second derailment at New York's Penn Station in 11 days

Monday's NJ Transit derailment at the height of the morning rush left at least four people with minor injuries and prompted a total shutdown of NJ Transit service in and out of the Manhattan hub for more than two hours.

Some lines were being diverted. Amtrak customers were also affected, and the MTA's initial projection of canceling up to 30 LIRR trains out of Penn Monday evening did not bode well for Mets fans trying to get home from the opener. Get the latest details on commute alternatives here.

"We would encourage our riders to leave early to leave late -- that rush hour's going to be very, very tough," said MTA acting chair Fernando Ferrer, addressing LIRR riders. 

"It's fair to say that the conditions at Penn affects everybody," he said. "Even though Amtrak owns it, we all dwell in that same place and travel into the same tracks. When something bad happens like this, it affects everybody." 

Though limited NJ Transit service and full Amtrak service were restored by early afternoon, the evening commute was still chaotic. Crowds filled up at Penn Station as boards displayed canceled and delayed trains.

"Hell on earth," Lia Lanzo tweeted from New York Penn. "Near-mob conditions," Paul Grygiel posted from Newark Penn. 

Commuters at the NJ Transit station in Hoboken were bewildered as different conductors gave them different instructions. Crowds continued to grow at stations and PATH warned of crowding at Newark Penn Station and 33rd Street.  

NJ Transit said limited service on the Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line was subject to 2-hour delays in both directions. Trains heading in and out of Hoboken were subject to 30-minute delays due to congestion caused by Midtown Direct trains diverting to the station. 

The pandemonium was set to continue, with NJ Transit saying the Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line would be on a holiday schedule Tuesday, mucking up the commute for tens of thousands of people. 

A spokesperson for NJ Transit said there was a "slow-speed derailment" as the train out of Trenton pulled into Track 9 at Penn Station around 9 a.m. Customers in the last four cars had to be escorted off, the spokesperson said. NJ Transit said four of the 1,200 aboard suffered minor injuries; the FDNY said it treated five people. All were expected to be OK. 

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Passengers described feeling a jolt prior to the train reaching the platform, but no crash. At least one Twitter user described "total panic" erupting, and one person was seen being loaded onto an orange stretcher. 

The cause of the accident is under investigation; Amtrak, which owns the tracks, said it is assessing the situation. 

Delays during the evening rush were expected to mirror those of the March 24 derailment, when an Acela slipped off the tracks and bumped an NJ Transit train heading the opposite way.
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