New Jersey News

One track running after Hoboken PATH train crash

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The PATH has resumed partial service in Hoboken with one track in use and hopefully two tracks will be operational for the Monday commute according to Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer's office.

Early Sunday morning a PATH train on Track 2 failed to stop and ran into the track terminus.

34 people were injured and were taken to area hospitals.

There were no life-threatening injuries.

Mayor Zimmer thanks all of the agencies at the local, county, state and federal level for their very prompt response to this incident.

At least 70 people were on the train at the time that it struck an abutment at the platform throwing the people inside.

Trains are now running with delays.

The National Transportation Safety Board arrived on site Sunday night and is investigating.

Their investigation is expected to last several days.

The Port Authority also sent an accident investigation team to the scene.

Spokesman John Kelly with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

But police say it appears that a mechanical failure is to blame.

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Chairman of Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation called for the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the PATH train crash.

"The PATH train system moves nearly 74 million people a year and is a critical economic driver in New Jersey and the whole region. We need every assurance that PATH trains can serve our region safely and that is why I am calling on the NTSB to begin an immediate investigation into Sunday's accident. I wish the injured a speedy recovery and will work with federal investigators to make sure our PATH system is safe and reliable for the thousands of travelers who use it every day," Sen. Lautenberg said.

Meanwhile, the eastern entrances to the PATH platform, including the elevator, remain inaccessible.

Commuters requiring elevator service will not be able to access the PATH platform at Hoboken Terminal.

Due to the limited PATH service, commuters are strongly urged to consider alternate transportation options including bus, light rail, and ferry on Monday.

NJ Transit will be providing increased bus service for the morning commute starting at 5:30am on Monday on the 126 and 87 routes and will be cross-honoring PATH tickets. (njtransit.com)

NJ Transit light rail service from Hoboken Terminal, 2nd Street or 9th Street is available to Newport where commuters can transfer to the PATH for service to New York City, Jersey City, Harrison, and Newark. NJ Transit will cross-honor tickets. (njtransit.com and panynj.gov/path/)

NY Waterway will have extra capacity Monday, May 9, for service between Hoboken and Manhattan to meet increased demand.

Boarding will be expedited by accepting cash in lieu of ticket purchase. From Hoboken Terminal, NY Waterway services World Financial Center and Pier 11/Wall Street. From 14th Street, NY Waterway services Midtown/W. 39th Street and the World Financial Center. (nywaterway.com)

Passengers on the train, which had departed earlier in the morning from New York City, said it had been a routine trip until they suddenly were knocked around by the impact.

"People were stunned, but nobody was really going crazy or anything," said Tom Gordon of Jersey City, who was riding in the train's front car with about 15 other people. "I didn't know what had happened at first."

Gordon, who was headed home from his job as a security person at a New York City apartment building, said he was half-asleep as the train pulled into the station on track No. 2. But he was quickly awakened and jolted from his seat by the crash.

He was taken to Hoboken University Medical Center for treatment of minor arm and rib injuries and left the hospital Sunday afternoon with his arm in a sling.

"I just want to get home," he said while waiting for his wife to pick him up.

Witnesses described the scene as the station as "controlled chaos," saying people were mostly calm but very concerned for the injured.

Zimmer praised the efforts of emergency responders, both from Hoboken and surrounding communities who answered their call for assistance.

"Everyone did a great job," she said.

Allison Portney of Rockland County, N.Y., was walking just outside the station to catch a New Jersey Transit train home when she saw many people slowly emerging from the station. The last victim to be removed from the scene was taken away on a stretcher around 11:30 a.m.

"Most of (the injured) were walking, but they all looked pretty shaken," Portney said.

Updated information on service disruptions will be posted on the city's and Port Authority's websites.

Online:
hobokennj.org and panynj.gov/path/

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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