Tough road to normalcy, longer road to recovery

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor
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NJ Transit flickr

Nearly a week after Hurricane Sandy slapped the Northeast, transportation providers are still scrambling to repair infrastructure and restore service.

While passenger and freight operations outside of the New York metropolitan area returned to almost full service with residual delays by Friday, New York and New Jersey transit crews were working at a fevered pace to repair routes and return lines piece-by-piece to operation.

By Sunday, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority offered limited and modified service on all subway lines with the exception of the G line. MTA said that on Monday morning, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad will offer close to regularly scheduled service as possible as the MTA rail and subway network continues to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. In addition, limited service was restored to the Staten Island Railway. Crews are working around the clock to restore other line segments.

MTA Metro-North Railroad resumed full service on all three of its main lines Saturday. Limited service resumed Sunday, Nov. 4, on the Port Jervis Line, following a week-long suspension due to effects of Hurricane Sandy. The Port Jervis Line also suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Irene in 2011. Metro-North will resume service on its branch lines east of the Hudson River on Monday morning. The New Canaan Branch in Connecticut, which still has severe tree damage to overhead catenary wires, will be served by buses connecting to train service.

MTA Long Island Rail Road will operate a modified schedule on all branches except the Long Beach branch. Trains on the Ronkonkoma Branch will not operate east of Ronkonkoma and trains on the Montauk Branch will not operate east of Speonk. With two East River tunnels operated by Amtrak into Penn Station out of service due to flooding, train service must operate at reduced levels.

“As we have said from the beginning, we will bring service back on a gradual basis as we are able to do so. The subway system will be a shifting landscape for some time to come,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said on Friday, Nov. 2. “But we are making steady progress toward some level of normalcy.”

New Jersey Transit, which only had a single light-rail line in operation for most of last week and started Northeast Corridor service to Penn Station on Friday, began running trains on three rail lines Sunday morning.

The North Jersey Coast Line will resume limited service to New York Penn Station, operating between Woodbridge and New York; the Raritan Valley Line service will resume limited service between Raritan and Newark Penn Station; the Main/Port Jervis Line will resume limited service, with trains originating and terminating in Secaucus and the Atlantic City Line will resume normal service, operating between Atlantic City and Philadelphia.

“These announcements mark important milestones in NJ Transit’s ongoing recovery efforts,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chairman James Simpson. “While this is great news for our customers, the road to recovery continues. NJ Transit crews continue working around the clock to restore service for our customers.”

Amtrak will provide Acela Express and Northeast Regional service on the Northeast Corridor between Boston-New York City-Washington, D.C., with reduced frequencies on Monday, November 5. Amtrak continues the restoration on the Empire Service operating between New York City and Albany-Rensselaer on a modified schedule.

Categories: Ballast, Ties, Rail, Bridge/Retaining Walls/Tunnels, C&S, Class 1, Commuter/Regional, Intercity, Rapid Transit/Light Rail, Safety/Training