Rush-Hour Delays Again Hit New Jersey Transit Commuters

Another round of delays at New York’s Pennsylvania Station on Wednesday night gave commuters flashbacks to the meltdown two weeks ago, when fallen electrical wires in New Jersey forced Amtrak to suspend train service on the entire Northeast Corridor between New York and Washington for most of the night.

Wait times this time around were not as severe. Trains leaving Penn Station for New Jersey faced 45-minute delays starting at 5:16 p.m. because of an inspection of tracks owned by Amtrak in Secaucus, N.J., according to an Amtrak spokesman.

Large crowds gathered inside the station after 6 p.m., as at least 10 New Jersey Transit trains were unable to depart on time. Only one Amtrak train was delayed by 33 minutes, said Jason Abrams, an Amtrak spokesman. The track inspection was complete by 6:25 p.m., Mr. Abrams said, and service began to return to normal.

The delays are an “ongoing issue,” said Antonio Shaw, 33, who arrived at Penn Station at 5:45 p.m. for a train to Rahway, N.J. “It’s frustrating as a commuter,” he said.

The Northeast Corridor is the busiest section of passenger rail track in the United States. The section between Newark, N.J., and New York includes some of the nation’s oldest train infrastructure, including rail yards in Kearney, N.J., and a pair of tunnels under the Hudson River, which were built to service the original Pennsylvania Station in New York, which opened in 1910.

Parts of the line are failing. In 2014, Amtrak said it would be forced to close at least one of the tunnels by 2034 because of damage caused by age and chemicals left behind by floods from Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

At least in part because of that aging infrastructure, commuters who rely the most on train lines using the Northeast Corridor face the most frequent delays. New Jersey Transit lines that don’t use the corridor, including the Main-Bergen and Pascack Valley Lines, arrive at their destinations on time more than 95 percent of the time, according to the agency.

The New Jersey Transit line from New York to Trenton, N.J., follows the Northeast Corridor the entire way. It has the agency’s second-worst performance, with 86.6 percent of its trains arriving on time.

At Penn Station on Wednesday evening, commuters said they were growing tired of trains running late.

“It has been insane the past six weeks,” said Annika McTamaney, 23, a New Jersey resident who canceled a date on Wednesday because of the delays.

Aimee Ortiz contributed reporting.

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