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Bitter Cold Causes Delays For Rail Riders

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Bitter cold temperatures and ice caused some early morning delays for rail commuters across the Tri-State area on Tuesday.

Commuters packed into Penn Station Tuesday morning, waiting on NJ TRANSIT trains that were delayed nearly an hour because of ice on Amtrak overhead wire lines.

Amy MacDonald was among them, emailing her class waiting for her at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

"I have to teach, so telling them I'll be late," she told CBS2's Janelle Burrell.

NJ TRANSIT service has since been restored, but cross-honoring is in effect system wide due to the weather. The agency is urging customers to be careful while traveling because of icy conditions.


It was a similar scene in the Long Island Rail Road waiting area at Penn where trains also faced weather-related delays and cancellations.

"To move a train along the tracks, every piece of the system needs to be working just exactly perfectly," LIRR spokesman Aaron Donovan told 1010 WINS. "The level of ice we're seeing means that some things are working pretty well, but not perfectly and so that can cause us pretty great challenges in the right conditions."

Early morning commuters at the Mineola station Tuesday were left standing on the platform when a 5:37 a.m. train was canceled.

Bitter Cold Could Cause Delays For Rail Riders

One commuter named James wasn't happy.

"I guess it's due to the ice, that's part of the problem," he told 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria. "I don't understand why they have everything running east on time, but the important part is to go into the city and they have that train canceled."

The MTA is also warning riders to expect delays on the No. 7 subway line after a power outage on Monday stranded passengers for hours.

Due to icy conditions, there is limited service between Times Square-42nd Street and Flushing-Main Street in both directions.

The agency says riders should expect crowded trains and allow for additional travel time. It says commuters can transfer at 74th Street-Broadway for E, F, M, and R service into Manhattan.

Monday morning, a Manhattan-bound 7 train lost power between stations near Queensboro Plaza.

According to the NYC Office of Emergency Management, the problems started when someone dropped an umbrella on the third rail, causing the MTA to shut down service.

"Someone dropped an umbrella on the track, it hit the third rail and cut the service," OEM Commissioner Joseph Esposito said.

When trains stopped running, icing resulted and caused major delays.

A rescue train was sent to assist the stranded passengers and the train was pulled into Queensboro Plaza around 11:30 a.m., MTA spokeswoman Amanda Kwan said.

Five 7 express trains were stuck behind the stalled train, but they didn't lose power, according to the MTA. They were taken to a station in Woodside to let passengers off.

"I've never seen such mayhem," one rider said.

There were similar issues on Metro-North Monday night. Riders posted photos on social media of trains on the New Haven line heading to Harrison that were cold, dark and not moving for three hours.

Pictures posted to social media showed a similar issue for Metro-North commuters on the train that was stalled without heat near Pelham. Trains were not moving after icy conditions on the tracks stopped the New Haven Line heading to Harrison.

The MTA also posted a picture on its Facebook page showing LIRR tracks on fire, a practice that the MTA said is done to keep the switches warm and will hopefully allow them to avoid the fate suffered by other trains.

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