Power problem halt trains from NY to Washington for 1 hour, upending morning commutes

By Samantha Henry, AP
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Northeast trains halted for hour by power problem

NEWARK, N.J. — Power problems forced Amtrak and regional transit agencies to halt trains throughout the Northeast for more than an hour Tuesday during the middle of the morning rush.

Amtrak said low voltage issues forced it to suspend service between New York City and Washington, and between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa., starting at 7:45 a.m. The exact cause of the problem wasn’t immediately known, Amtrak spokesman Steve Coleman said.

The power problems also forced NJ Transit and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to halt their trains.

At Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, business travelers stood around, messaging on cell phones as all the trains on the schedule board were listed as delayed. Shortly after 9 a.m., railroad workers announced to waiting passengers that power had been restored and all trains would begin moving shortly.

Amtrak expected residual delays throughout Tuesday morning.

Riders on NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast trains faced delays of up to 90 minutes. Philadelphia’s SEPTA said commuters would face delays of up to an hour.

The shutdown derailed the ride to work for commuters for the second time this month. On Aug. 11, a fallen tree knocked out power and rail signals, delaying East Coast trains for up to two hours.

Meanwhile, Long Island Rail Road commuters faced delays and crowded trains Tuesday as the railroad worked to fix the damage from a switching station fire.

An electrical fire Monday in a switching tower had halted train service for four hours and disrupted the evening commute. The LIRR canceled some trains Tuesday morning and said it could take several days to make repairs.


Associated Press writers Patrick Walters in Philadelphia and Deepti Hajela in New York City contributed to this story.

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