Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Another Day, Another Major Delay on the Northeast Corridor

Once again, the Northeast Corridor (NEC) is hit with major delays as a NJ Transit train derailed in the Hudson River tunnels between Secaucus and NY Penn Station.

The first we heard of problems was as our Bergen Line train approached Secaucus and conductors warned that there was no inbound traffic to New York so that everyone would be diverted to Hoboken.

NJ Transit first claimed that there was a signal problem before indicating that there was a disabled train causing the delays at 8:12AM. That was followed by a notice at 8:22 that there was a disabled train and 30-60 minute delays.

That's not entirely true as NJ Transit is canceling trains up and down the NEC and other lines that feed through the Hudson River tunnels, so your delays could potentially be much more severe.

NJ Transit hasn't updated to note that a train has derailed. For that, I had to check other news outlets. It turns out that two railcars on an outbound NJ Transit train from Penn Station derailed, snarling traffic through the system. 300 people were on board the derailed train, but there's no word of injuries.

Why is it that the NJ Transit alerts page is last to know what's going on?

The agency recently announced the results of a customer satisfaction survey, and the harsh reality is that the agency has failed on dealing with delays and service disruptions and today's events reinforce the fact that the agency has learned nothing from its prior issues to better distribute news of disruptions and what to do in a timely fashion.

The Twitter feed is furiously slamming the agency for not getting the job done - not informing riders of the disruptions in a timely fashion and ruining yet another commute.

It's after 1PM local time and the transit agency has no idea whether they can resolve the derailed train and restore full service by the afternoon rush hour, but that news didn't come from the NJ Transit site - it came from NJ.com. They've still got a notice on their site that there are 60-90 minute delays due to a disabled train posted at 9:49AM and that other agencies are cross-honoring tickets.

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