🚉The NE Corridor & North Jersey Coast Line were suspended Wednesday afternoon

🚉A fallen signal line in Kearny was to blame

🚉Gov. Phil Murphy demanded Amtrak address its "equipment vulnerabilities"

NJ Transit riders had a better commute Thursday morning after a complete suspension of service on the Northeast Corridor and the North Jersey Coast Line on Wednesday but it was not good enough for Gov. Phil Murphy who blasted Amtrak on his social media.

Amtrak, which maintains the Northeast Corridor, said it restored power on one track between New York and Newark late Wednesday night allowing for “minimal travel” following repair to a fallen overhead wire in Kearny.

NJ Transit said it would have “very limited westbound service” from New York Penn Station on a regular schedule.  Riders were warned to expect delays and cancellations Thursday morning because of crew availability and equipment that was out of place.

Two NJ Transit Northeast Corridor trains were canceled as of 9 a.m. Thursday morning with 20-minute delays.

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Screen at Penn Station New York showing delays 5/23/24
Screen at Penn Station New York showing delays 5/23/24 (Listener submitted)

What caused the power line to fall?

Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams told New Jersey 101.5 the issue was the result of a signal wire that came into contact with the catenary wire causing a blowout. It was not related to work on the new Portal Bridge or the current crossing, according to Abrams.

NJ Transit rail tickets and passes were being cross-honored with NJ Transit and private carrier buses, and PATH at Newark Penn Station, Hoboken and 33rd Street-New York.

There were also delays on NJ Transit unrelated to the power line.

A mechanical issue caused service on the Dinky line from Princeton to be suspended.  A vehicle was struck at the railroad crossing in Bradley Beach delaying one train.

Murphy said he sent Amtrak a letter calling the hours long suspension of service a "complete system failure."

"These delays are not only an inconvenience they are incredibly disruptive to the lives of New Jerseyans. They cause commuters to miss important family events from graduation ceremonies to birthdays, or simply dinner with their loved ones," Murphy wrote.

He praised Amtrak and NJ Transit for improving their working relationship during his time in office but believes there more work to be done. He called on senior management from both agencies to meet in the next few days to discuss a better comprehensive emergency management plan.

The Democrat said he refuses to accept Amtrak's infrastructure challenges as an inevitable part of operating integrated mass transit systems.

"I believe Amtrak needs to make immediate short-term and long-term investments to address infrastructure vulnerabilities and updated emergency management plans to provide more robust alternative modes of transportation when equipment failure occurs," Murphy wrote.

A 15% fare increase is scheduled to take effect for all NJ Transit riders on July 1. There will also likely be an increase in ridership once New York City's congestion pricing plan takes effect adding $15 to the trip into lower Manhattan.

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