Amtrak Takes Blame for N.J. Transit Derailment That Triggered Delays

Moorman revealed that weakened "timbers" - wooden rail ties that support the steel rails on top of them - were to blame for Monday's derailment.

NJ Transit Executive Director Steven H. Santoro says customers are "beyond frustrated with the havoc that has been wreaked upon their lives".

Amtrak says it expects to have all 21 tracks operating Friday morning.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it has canceled 10 Long Island Rail Road trains into Manhattan for Friday's morning rush hour and terminated four others at stations in Queens because Amtrak crews didn't finish track fix work by 4 a.m.as promised. He said the company has launched a joint investigation of the entire Penn Station track infrastructure with the Federal Railway Administration.

"It is a complex place, it is extraordinarily busy, and that is only going to continue", Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman said at a Thursday news conference.

But, responding to a threat by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to pull millions of dollars in subsidies to the railroad, he said "withdrawing funding will not solve any problems".

Rail service has been cut back since Monday morning's derailment took out eight of 21 tracks maintained by Amtrak. "I apologize to everyone who has been inconvenienced by the recent delays and cancellations at New York Penn Station", he said.

"It's our job to make sure that commuters and intercity passengers can safely and reliably travel along the Northeast Corridor and we know we let them down with these recent derailments".

A minor New Jersey Transit train derailment occurred in Penn Station. The cause appeared to be a mismatch of two rail pieces, Moorman said. The move comes almost a week after an NJ Transit train derailed at the NY transit hub, injuring five people and diminishing capacity.

NJ Transit, Amtrak and the LIRR have since had to reduce the number of trains running in and out of Penn Station.

New Jersey Transit says it is preparing to resume full weekday service in and out of New York's Penn Station.

Nancy Snyder, a New Jersey Transit spokeswoman, didn't immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

There is still no timeline for a full service restoration. And between 2005 and 2015, the state's subsidy to NJ Transit has decreased by 90 percent, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, which critics say has contributed to a budget hole that has hampered the agency's ability to make improvements.

Christie told Coscia, the Amtrak chairman, that he has "directed NJ Transit to cease making any payments to Amtrak under the agreement until there has been a thorough and independent examination of the tracks, signals, switches and other equipment maintained by Amtrak" on the Northeast Corridor "and full and unqualified verification that the assets are in a state-of-good-repair".

  • Wendy Palmer