Disruption of New Jersey Transit service subsided Tuesday with fewer trains being cancelled than in the previous two workdays.
The number of cancellations dropped from 20 on Monday to seven on Tuesday with the reasons ranging from a lack of available engineers, mechanical issues and equipment shortages, according to NJ Transit spokesperson Lisa Torbic.
This news coincides with NJ Transit announcing that the Raritan Valley Line to New York City will be suspended beginning Monday, Sept. 10, and the Atlantic City Line will be suspended as of Sept. 5. Service is being halted due to the installation of positive train control technology to monitor train speeds and locations. This technology will activate braking to comply with speed restrictions and territorial limits.
Resumption of these services is expected early next year.
NJ Transit has a rotation of about 50 to 60 cars over the course of the month cycling through various stages of the installation process, Torbic said. That represents less than 15 percent of the total fleet of locomotives and cab cars and includes prep work, testing and hardware/software installation, she said.
“NJ Transit continues to take steps to address these issues by recruiting and training additional locomotive engineers,” Torbic said. “We anticipate a class graduating within the next week that will add nine engineers to the roster. In addition, we have increased the number of current classes from two to four, running concurrently with staggered graduation dates, to continue the qualification of new engineers.”
Elsewhere, Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-21st District, called Tuesday for Gov. Phil Murphy to respond to the recent spate of delays and cancellations of NJ Transit trains.
“These cancellations have created nightmares for commuters and residents,” Bramnick said in a statement. “The Murphy administration must respond to these problems immediately.”
Bramnick’s district is serviced by the Raritan Valley line.
Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, R-25th District, and a member of the Assembly Transportation Committee, and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, R-21st District, have called for legislative hearings.
A request seeking comment from Murphy’s office was referred back to NJ Transit.
Murphy has called for an overhaul of NJ Transit, deeming its recent service a “national disgrace.” He has said the agency experienced the most accidents last year of any of the 10 largest American commuter railroads from 2011 to 2016.