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NJ TRANSIT Train Derails Entering Penn Station

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An NJ TRANSIT train derailed at Penn Station late Thursday, spurring a major FDNY response and halting service to the terminal.

NJ TRANSIT Train No. 3276 on the North Jersey Coast Line had left Long Branch at 7:20 p.m., and had been expected to arrive at Penn Station at 8:53 p.m. The train derailed in the Hudson River tunnel into Penn Station at 9:10 p.m., NJ TRANSIT said.

Amtrak, which owns the tracks and the terminal, called the incident a "slow-speed derailment."

A total of 180 customers and crew members were onboard the nine-car train, NJ TRANSIT said.

There were no injuries. After being stuck for about an hour and a half, everyone onboard was transferred to a rescue train that got them back to Penn Station late Thursday night.

Photos and video from the scene showed numerous fire vehicles rushing up. Twitter user Kate Malloy called the scene "mayhem."

CBS2's Jessica Layton reported all Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT trains were suspended at Penn Station as of 9:45 p.m.

NJ TRANSIT said via Twitter that rail tickets and passes were being cross-honored on NJ TRANSIT buses and PATH trains.

Midtown Direct trains are being redirected to Hoboken.

Amtrak said customers heading to and from Penn Station should expect extensive delays. Passengers were advised to call (800) USA-RAIL for additional information.

Long Island Rail Road trains were not affected.

Facebook user Rich Denison captured photos and video inside the derailed NJ TRANSIT train. Firefighters were seen onboard the train as passengers were evacuated.

NJ TRANSIT Derailment
An NJ TRANSIT train derailed approaching Penn Station on Thursday, July 6, 2017. (Credit: Rich Denison)
NJ TRANSIT Derailment
An NJ TRANSIT train derailed approaching Penn Station on Thursday, July 6, 2017. (Credit: Rich Denison)

Other Twitter video showed massive traffic jams piling up on Seventh Avenue as fire crews blocked the roadway.

CBS2's Jessica Layton spoke with a man who had been on the train behind the one that derailed. With NJ TRANSIT service out, he was one of many people who were stuck with not many options for getting home.

"I was on the train behind the train that derailed. All I know, they came on the loudspeaker and they were like, 'You got to get off the train, there was a derailment,'" said Anthony Salerno of South Plainfield. "And everybody was like, 'Again?'"

"Well, it's frustrating," said Susan Hellman of Atlantic Highlands. "And as it gets late in the night, it gets more frustrating, so we just want to get home."

When asked about her plan to get home, she said she was still trying to figure it out late Thursday.

After the rescue train arrived, CBS2's Layton spoke to Sherif Ahmed, who had been on the derailed train.

"We were pulling into Penn Station, and then all of a sudden, the car started swaying very heavily to the point that I was going to film it because I've never seen anything like that," Ahmed said. "And then we stopped, and we were told that it was a switch problem initially, and people were like: 'That's a lie! That's a lie!'"

As of 11 p.m., the NJ TRANSIT departure board showed all trains delayed, with no indication of when everything would be moving again.

Coming up Monday, in the wake of numerous derailments and other crises at Penn Station in recent months, Amtrak will begin vigorous repair work to prevent future problems.

Three tracks at Penn will be closed during eight weeks of emergency rail repairs, cutting service by 20 percent.

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