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NJ TRANSIT Trains Resume Service Into Penn Station After Power Problems

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- For the third day in a row, Amtrak power problems on Wednesday delayed thousands of commuters from getting to and from New York City.

NJ TRANSIT was forced to suspend service in and out of the city because of overhead wire problems.

A power outage around 5:45 a.m. Wednesday affected both tubes of the 105-year-old Hudson River Tunnel, some station tracks and portions of Sunnyside Yard in Queens, Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz said in an email.

The problem persisted in the south tube, meaning trains had only one track available.

One rider said she was stuck in a tunnel for over an hour.

"The communication was horrible," commuter Annette Walsh told 1010 WINS. "No information -- finally he gets on and says, 'OK attention passengers the power is out and it can't be restored' and then it cuts out."

Power was restored by 7:45 a.m., but NJ TRANSIT riders still faced delays of up to 90 minutes.

Trains are now running on or close to schedule, but PATH, buses and NY Waterway Hoboken Terminal South Ferry will continue to cross honor tickets until midnight, NJ TRANSIT said.

On Tuesday, there were delays on the Northeast Corridor when a signal problem in the Princeton area slowed trains.

A disabled train in one of the tunnels and overhead wire troubles caused delays in and out of Penn Station Monday night when the heat and humidity made it feel like it was over 100 degrees in parts of the area.

As CBS2's Christine Sloan reported, commuters want to know, with so many disruptions, why are they facing a 9-percent fare hike?

"Our train didn't go into Penn Station it went to Hoboken. It was about 40 minutes delayed, now it's delayed again. This is every day, every day," one rider said.

Some commuters even gave up and went home.

The head of a commuter organization told CBS2's Sloan that it's been really bad over the last three days.

"The lack of an additional tunnel to take people across the Hudson, as well as the aging infrastructure, we are talking about electronics out on the railroads that are anywhere from 40 to 80-years-old," Michael Phelam, njcommuter.org, said.

During outages, NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Veronique "Ronnie" Hakim said the agency is "committed to giving our customers every alternative travel option available to safely and quickly continue their commute."

In a statement, she also called the recent service disruptions "unacceptable."

"These past few days of crippling power outages on the Northeast Corridor are unacceptable. NJ TRANSIT pays Amtrak approximately $100 million annually towards keeping the Northeast Corridor running, and we have requested of Amtrak to know if our money is truly going towards ensuring reliable rail service for our customers," she said. "Additionally, we have, and will continue to press Amtrak on needed corrective actions and on whether these recent service disruptions are related."

Commuters were already stewing after NJ TRANSIT's board on July 15 approved raising fares for bus and rail riders by about 9 percent starting in October.

CBS2's Sloan recently pressed Hakim on funding issues.

"The overall bucket of state subsidies is actually stable. The funding mix actually changes over time," she said.

It's because NJ Transit closed a budget gap with clean energy funding. Democrats called ait a one shot gimmick that could lead to another fare increase after this fall.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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