Why NJ Transit riders were stuck on trains for hours Tuesday
NEWARK — NJ Transit says is well aware of the delays and created by a fatal incident on the Morris & Essex Line -- which left some passengers stuck on trains for hours -- toward the end of the Tuesday afternoon commute.
The incident near the Brick Church Station around 5:30 p.m. caused a brief suspension of service followed by delays that grew to 90 minutes as an investigation and cleanup of the incident got underway.
Skyla Giles, 20, of Oak Ridge was identified by NJ Transit as the deceased.
Other outbound trains were also delayed once they left New York.
Although the agency updated its social media accounts about delays during Tuesday's incident, several riders taking to social media were angry at the having to sit on trains for up to 3 hours, and what they said was a lack of communication about their specific train.
"Glad there was a plan in place for emergency....oh wait...#njtransit #fail," Carolyn Warner tweeted.
NBC 4 New York reported that other tweets claimed a pregnant woman was on board and asked why the trains could not move to the nearest station to get off.
A spokesperson for NJ Transit declined to discuss specifics about the Tuesday evening incident but said social media comments are reviewed as part of an evaluation of its response in order to improve.
The agency said that incidents in which a person is struck on the tracks, such as Tuesday evening, can be something of a wild card. The time it takes time to resume service varies due to the circumstances.
Early evening is one of the busiest times on the Morris & Essex Line, with more than a dozen trains heading outbound from either New York or Hoboken, which makes it difficult to reposition trains. There may also not be a track available to allow trains to bypass a scene.
Cross-honoring was put into effect to help commuters with alternative arrangements. Putting extra buses into service to create what NJ Transit calls a "bus bridge" between two points requires is not an easy thing as it requires extra buses and staff to operate.
NJ Transit Police, which usually leads investigations on the agency's property, has to balance maintaining the integrity of the scene with working quickly so normal service can resume, the agency said.
Adding to the length of a service interruption in the case of a fatality is the fact that a a medical examiner must report to the scene and sometimes they have to travel a distance, the agency said.