Multiple brush fires near train tracks in New Jersey stopped NJ Transit and Amtrak rail service along the Northeast Corridor on Wednesday afternoon. Most service has been fixed since then.
At 2:45 p.m., just before the evening rush, the fires started to affect the trains.
At one point, New Jersey Transit said that service was stopped between New York Penn Station and Trenton on its Northeast Corridor Line.
It made it hard for people to get to work by train because a lot of people had to gather at Penn Station and then figure out how to get home after the shutdown.
Commuters at Penn Station wait to get home because several brush fires are making it hard for trains to run.
Since then, trains have been running again between New York Penn Station and Trenton, but there are “significant delays” in both directions. Metuchen, Edison, and New Brunswick will not be served on the way west.
Customers are being told to change trains at Princeton Junction to get back to these stations on an eastbound train
At 30th Street Station, angry Amtrak passengers had to find another way to get where they needed to go.
“Now, a flight to Boston costs $2,000. We need to get there tonight, but it’s hard to find flights for the same day “said South Philadelphia resident Stephanie Roundy.
Cindi Buckwalter wanted to get to Washington, D.C.
Buckwalter said, “They stopped and said they were stuck here.”
It was hard to find people to ride with, so some people offered to ride with strangers who were stuck.
Zohaiv Rathore of New York City said, “I’m going to get in an Uber and have it take me back to New York. I had to give the driver $50 in cash or they wouldn’t have come.”
A Middlesex County official said that the fires there were caused by sparks from a freight train: “The Middlesex County Department of Public Safety and Health has found that sparks from a freight train caused brush fires in several towns in the county.
At the moment, NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor line is closed from Metuchen station to New Brunswick station. Local fire departments are working all the time to put out the fires.”
Three brush fires were reported in Middlesex County, New Brunswick, at Rutgers Gardens, Edison, and Highland Park.
At a fourth place in Matawan, where the fire spread to an abandoned train trestle, there were also big flames.
At Newark Penn Station and 33rd Street, PATH will still accept tickets and passes for New Jersey Transit trains.