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Downed wires cause gridlock for travelers at Penn Station


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Downed wires cause gridlock for travelers at Penn Station



Sunday, November 18th 2007, 5:53 PM



Thousands of travelers were left stranded for hours at Penn Station following

an electrical breakdown that disrupted service up and down the Northeast corridor.


Thanksgiving week travelers were stuck at New York's Penn Station for hours Sunday after Northeast corridor trains were halted by downed wires in a tunnel.


Trains to Washington, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa., were rerouted through Newark, forcing confused passengers to haul their gear from Penn Station to the PATH in Herald Square to begin their journeys. But people headed to destinations including Miami, Pittsburgh and Newport News, Va., were left in the dark.


"It sucks," said Sierra Tarver, 21, of Brooklyn, who was waiting to board a train from New York to South Carolina with her three children, ages 3, 2 and 10 months.


"They didn't tell us anything convenient," said the children's dad, Xavier Gonzalez, 23, who planned to meet his family in a few days but was waiting out the delay with them. "We should get some kind of discounted rate."


The electrical breakdown in a Hudson River tunnel this morning stopped a New Jersey Transit train for 2 1/2 hours. That triggered a domino effect of delays for passengers traveling from New York southward. Riders who started their trips anywhere between Boston and New York had to get out at Penn Station, said Amtrak spokeswoman Tracy Connell.


She could not say how many people were affected, but 35,000 customers ride along the Northeast corridor on an average weekday. An estimated 17,000 New Jersey Transit passengers were also delayed, said spokeswoman Dan Stessel.


Beth Banks, 21, was laid back this morning about her slowed trip to Pittsburgh from New Haven, where she is a student at Yale University. But by this evening, she'd had it.


Amtrak never made an announcement that her train was cancelled, Banks said.


"Nobody told us and they said we could wait till tomorrow for a new train or take a bus from Port Authority. The bus left at 4:30 and we didn't leave [Penn Station] till 4, so now we're waiting for a 6:30 bus," said Banks, who was traveling with a college friend, Carlos Lopez, 19. "Granted, they paid for the taxi, but $6 for a taxi will not make up for spending all day in New York."

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