Home Asides Limited PATH service set to restart Tuesday morning

Limited PATH service set to restart Tuesday morning

by Benjamin Kabak

Although trains between Newark and the World Trade Center are still out of service, PATH trains will run from Midtown to Journal Square starting tomorrow morning at 5 a.m., the Port Authority announced this afternoon. PATH will run only a limited service with station stops at 33rd, 23rd and 14th Sts. in Manhattan and Newport, Grove St. and Journal Square in New Jersey, and trains will operate only from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Stations at 9th St. and Christopher St. in the West Village will not open due to concerns over capacity crowds.

For the first time in a few days, the Port Authority also revealed some details on the extent of damage sustained by the system. Hoboken Station suffered extensive damage to the signaling and train control equipment while floodwaters damaged substation equipment at both Newark and Journal Square. PATH engineers are working to restore additional service, but there is no timeline for such work.

Meanwhile, the WTC-Newark line seemed to bear the brunt of the floods as well. In a statement, PATH explained, “Exchange Place and World Trade Center stations both experienced an unprecedented amount of flooding, damaging multiple types of equipment, including those for signaling and train control. PATH engineers are repairing or replacing this equipment as quickly as safely possible. Hurricane Sandy caused more flooding in the tunnels than the terrorist attacks of 9/11.” It may still be a while yet for Exchange Place and Hoboken service to return to normal.

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Nathanael November 5, 2012 - 4:46 pm

Well, I’m glad to hear that Newport, Grove St., and the Upper Hudson Tubes are OK now. (Although, given that they didn’t start operations until tomorrow, I suppose that they must have been in fairly bad shape too.)

Nathanael November 5, 2012 - 5:12 pm

Should be interesting to find out how big the crowds at Newport and Journal Square will be.

On other matters, I am mildly surprised that NJ Transit hasn’t tried to run rail service to Newark Broad St. at all yet. The damage descriptions for those commuter lines do not sound extensive compared to the situation on Long Island, the NJCL, or Metro-North (though Metro-North’s repairs were incredibly fast, so perhaps I shouldn’t judge by that). Perhaps it’s the power.

Adam G November 5, 2012 - 5:26 pm

I can’t speak for the Montclair line, but the Morris and Essex lines are *heavily* damaged – tons of trees on the tracks, a lot of wire down, the flooding at Kearny junction, the damaged rolling stock and substations, etc, etc. It’s going to be weeks before service there is back.

Phantom November 5, 2012 - 5:36 pm

Any idea how many NJT train cars are water damaged?

Did they have good options to move all the cars to high / safe ground to save them, like the NY subways were moved?

After the sin of the ” drowned ” New Orleans school buses by an incompetent mayor, you might think that lessons were learned.

Anonymous November 5, 2012 - 7:17 pm

An article on Bloomberg says 23% of cars and 35% of locomotives.

CComMack November 5, 2012 - 7:41 pm

SEPTA lost a couple trainsets to Irene by leaving them at Trenton. A much closer and more recent lesson.

Nathanael November 5, 2012 - 7:05 pm

Damaged rolling stock? Should. Not. Happen. Not with this much warning. What went wrong? Amtrak moved its rolling stock, Metro-North moved its rolling stock, LIRR moved its rolling stock, NYC Subway moved its rolling stock. Even PATH has working rolling stock (I seriously wonder where they moved it, maybe the tunnels south of 33rd St in NYC).

The debris was horrendous on Metro-North and LIRR (“six foot diameter trees”), and the NYC subway debris is at least spectacular to look at (debris filling an elevated line? wow), and yet they’re up and running!

Regarding wires down, that’s actually supposed to be one of the quicker things to repair (since it happens fairly often), though it does seem to take longer than I would expect (witness New Canaan branch on Metro-North). Perhaps an “electrification train” such as the British are pioneering would be a good thing to have for future occasions. Perhaps the repair workers were just dedicated to the Main Line first for some reason, and that’s occupied all of them (which would imply that they have fewer workers than the NY agencies).

Perhaps NJT simply didn’t do as much prep as the NY agencies. I know Metro-North was removing switch motors and electronics before the storm, along with the other MTA agencies, which seems to have been really, really important in fast service restoration. Maybe NJT didn’t.

Or perhaps it’s simply been impossible for the track workers to get to work, but I really wouldn’t expect that on the west end of the lines.

Between the Kearny washout, the power outages at Secaucus, and the problems with the North River Tunnels, I certainly wouldn’t expect service east of Newark Broad St., which is why I was specifically wondering about service from Newark Broad St. westwards.

In the back of my mind, I’m wondering if NJT still thinks service isn’t useful unless it goes all the way to New York — if the concept of people commuting to Newark is simply not “useful” in their minds.

Nathanael November 5, 2012 - 7:09 pm

Though looking again at the power outage maps, the most generous assumption is that there simply isn’t reliable signal power.

It’s impressive that LIRR has power given the still-really-bad state of power on Long Island; LIRR must have been a very high priority for LIPA.

Nathanael November 5, 2012 - 7:22 pm

Well, a little research tells me that the key substations which supply nearly the entirety of all these lines are at Summit and in the Meadowlands.

Both areas got hit hard enough that… well, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if the substations are completely destroyed.

MTA is much better about giving out information than the other agencies.

Anonymous November 5, 2012 - 7:29 pm

Yes, I would love it if NJT gave a bit more information about the status of the lines and also some idea what they are prioritizing. Same for Amtrak — I am not willing to say that Amtrak is not doing what it must to reopen the North Hudson Tunnel and the two East River tunnels, but it would be much better if they communicated about the difficulties they are facing.

CComMack November 5, 2012 - 7:39 pm

Most of MTA. LIRR is pretty much a black box. Joe Lhota needs to start prodding them to talk more, with the black market price of gasoline on Long Island floating in the $10.00 range

Anonymous November 5, 2012 - 7:25 pm

I actually have to agree with NJT — there is relatively little point in having the M&E or Montclair trains terminate at Newark Broad. Having been on the morning trains of these lines myself I have observed that there are relatively few people who get off at Newark Broad. More than 90% of the commuters need to go to NYP or Hoboken, but one tunnel to NYP is still out and the tracks to Hoboken are probably in big trouble (and without power). Running service to Newark Broad will just dump people in place that is not their destination and even if they could get to Newark Penn there is probably no space on the few NEC trains to take them to NYP anyway.

Nathanael November 5, 2012 - 7:47 pm

OK. Makes sense.

CComMack November 5, 2012 - 7:48 pm

Two words: bus bridge. NJ is relying on a massive number of buses to replace its missing transit service. Running shuttles between Newark Broad Street and PABT is a much more efficient use of those buses. If you want to raise the specter of hour-long waits at Newark Broad like there were at Barclays Center last week, then I would argue that running buses all the way from Morristown is not going to be a less failure-prone use of resources.

In the meantime, it’s all moot because there’s significant damage to the lines in close proximity to Newark.

Nathanael November 5, 2012 - 7:46 pm

Highly informative article about the NYC Subway shutdown and recovery:


Nathanael November 5, 2012 - 7:57 pm

This answers spendmore’s question: they do have dedicated water removal pipes in the tunnels which flood trains can simply hook up to.

Linkage: North Brooklyn Wants Shuttle Buses; PATH Train Returns – insiderater.com November 6, 2012 - 11:56 am

[…] [BB] · Delving into the dirty details of the Chelsea Market expansion [ArchiTakes] · Rejoice! Some PATH train service will resume Tuesday AM [SAS] · Architecture for Humanity already hard at work in NYC [AN Blog] · To ease […]

lawhawk November 6, 2012 - 12:45 pm

NJT on the Bergen/Pascack is held up because of lack of power to signal systems plus damage to the Rail Operations Center in Kearny. As power gets restored to the local towns in this neck of the woods, NJT could get trains running, but getting into Hoboken is a mess because much of the rail yard had major washouts and damage, including to signals, switches, and other equipment. It’s not an overhead power issue since those lines are diesel powered.

The rest of the Main/PJL is hampered by such limited service as to make it worthless. Too many commuters going for too few seats – and all are to go to Hoboken where they can transfer to what? Ferry service that can’t handle the overflow?

It’s still better than yesterday when the service terminated at Secaucus and the overflow there ended up causing an even bigger mess.

As for PATH, they seem to be in even worse shape than the MTA, despite having fewer track miles of flooding and less to be responsible for. WTC and HOB flooding will keep those off line for some time with no timetable for return. You would have thought that after 9/11 the installation of flood protection would have come up given that part of the delay in restoring service was because the WTC to Exchange Place tube flooded with water from broken water mains and the firefighting efforts at Ground Zero.

That ought to be addressed – why was there such an oversight.

Pon December 14, 2012 - 6:10 pm

Does anyone know when the path train will normal again? Like 24/hrs or past 10pm? Or any kind of predicted day/month/year? How big is the recovery project or how long of a process is this? Will it take weeks? Months? Years? Is there a site that has more up to date info? I really need to know something! Anything! I live in NJ and work late hours in the city and the commute is not only dreadful but very costly. If it is going to take more than a few months I may have to move.


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