Murphy promises short term relief for crowded NJ Transit commuter trains


Gov. Phil Murphy announced a plan to put 40 more cars back on NJ Transit rails to answer complaints about squeezing on overcrowded trains.

Murphy announced a plan Thursday in the Trenton train station to put 20 rail cars back in service that had been waiting to have Positive Train Control equipment installed. N.J. Transit also plans to lease 20 other rail cars from a Maryland commuter agency, he said.

“It will at least help alleviate the immediate concerns of commuters,” Murphy said.

Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said that NJ Transit was short by 37 cars to operate its full daily rail schedule.

Of the 20 cars returned to service that have been pulled out for PTC work, 12 are back in service, she said.

The 20 cars leased from the Maryland Transit Administration will provide spare cars to cover when equipment has to be repaired or maintained, she said.

NJ Transit will swap an old unneeded older locomotive for lease of the cars, officials said.

Steps were taken to repair and maintain cars and locomotives quicker by outsourcing some work and working with parts vendors to have parts available, Gutierrez-Scaccetti said.

N.J. Transit officials told lawmakers in December that a parts shortage was the reason for equipment shortages that left commuters standing because cars were sidelined waiting for repair .

She estimated it would take N.J. Transit until March to work through a backlog of equipment waiting for repair or inspection.

Some of the ideas unveiled came from NJ Transit staff who brought the suggestions to management, she said.

“They said there are things we can do quickly,” she said.

Officials also announced stepped up training and recruitment of maintenance and repair workers and engineers to handle staff shortages.

Larry Higgs may be reached at lhiggs@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @commutinglarry. Find NJ.com on Facebook.



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