NJ Transit Cancels Dozens of Train Runs, Warns of More Crowding

(Bloomberg) -- New Jersey Transit will cancel dozens of trains, including several along its most-used Northeast Corridor line, promising even more crowded commutes into New York City.

The cuts will accommodate the installation of emergency-braking systems mandated by Congress. To compensate riders, the agency plans to cut fares by 10 percent in November, December and January, NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett told reporters on Thursday in Piscataway.

The cuts will help make service, already stressed by short engineer staffing and breakdowns, “predictive and more reliable,” Corbett said.

“Trains will be more crowded,” he said.

Click here for affected trains

The schedule changes will begin Oct. 14. Timetables will be posted at NJTransit.com at the end of September.

NJ Transit, the nation’s second-biggest commuter-rail operator after the Long Island Rail Road, has struggled to outfit locomotives with lifesaving automatic-braking systems ordered by Congress. It has warned of more service cuts as federal officials press the agency to speed up the job ahead of a Dec. 31 deadline. The work has added unprecedented stress to an aged fleet that’s been blamed for delays and overcrowding.

Five weekday trains -- three on the Northeast Corridor and two on the North Jersey Coast Line -- will be scrapped to and from Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, the origin or destination for most riders. Hoboken Terminal riders, too, will be especially inconvenienced, with more than a dozen inbound and outbound routes cancelled, including several during peak morning and evening hours.

Riders of the Dinky, which links Princeton to the Northeast Corridor, will have bus service only. On weekends, buses will replace Gladstone Branch service. Elsewhere, some routes will be shortened, and riders must board connecting trains to their destinations.

The railroad on Sept. 5 stopped its Atlantic City to Philadelphia service for four months while locomotives are pulled from service for software installation and testing.

The emergency braking project, called positive train control, was mandated by Congress to prevent collisions and derailments after several high-profile passenger and freight crashes around the U.S. NJ Transit’s installation of the technology, which has dragged for years, is 66 percent completed, officials said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.