Why NJ Transit trains were extra-crowded and chaotic on Wednesday; full service returns Thursday
NEWARK — The day after the storm, NJ Transit riders complained about crowded and late trains resulting from service being placed on a President's Day schedule.
The President's Day schedule offers more service than a weekend schedule, but half as much as a regular weekday schedule.
Full rail service will return Thursday morning.
Spokeswoman Nancy Snyder said trains and equipment had to be placed into safe storage for the anticipated snow storm, which was predicted to leave 18-24 inches of snow in most parts of the state. Now, the equipment needs to be inspected before it can go back into service.
"Our crews are working around the clock. It takes a period of time to inspect our equipment, inspect our right of ways, inspect all our infrastructure. It's not just plowing the tracks and we're finished," Snyder said, adding that there are switches and switch heaters that need to checked.
"We're putting out as much service as we possibly and we will continue to put out more as we can. The bottom line is that if we can't operate safely we're not putting that train out. Safety is our number one priority," Snyder said.
Snyder said additional service was added to the Raritan Valley Line, Morris & Essex Line and the Pascack Valley Line during the morning, and more trains will be added in the afternoon to the Northeast Corridor.
"DJ," a New York commuter from Linden, told New Jersey 101.5 that it was "chaos" at the Linden station, which he estimated was crowded with 200 passengers on Wednesday morning when normally there would be just 25 to 50.
"I waited on the platform for two hours and attempted to board five trains, one of which was a double-decker, before making the executive decision to give up and work from home instead," DJ said. "People were yelling at each other to move and lots of pushing and shoving."
Snyder said NJ Transit said less trains means overcrowded trains have to bypass stations, meaning local trains will become express. In order to accommodate as many passengers as possible, Snyder said some express trains will make unscheduled stops.
She said riders should check njtransit.com or NJ Transit' app for updates on the status of their train.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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