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Hurricane Sandy served NJ Transit a costly lesson

njtransitlogo081610_optBY BOB HOLT
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Hurricane Sandy caused $100 million in damages to New Jersey Transit trains and equipment, but some legislators are asking whether the train cars were properly protected before the storm.

Many of the agency’s cars had been stored in rail yards that ended up flooded after Sandy. The yards were in the Meadowlands, and in Hoboken.

State Assemblyman John Wisniewski, chairman of New Jersey Transit’s transportation committee, said, “Those trains should not have been left in such a vulnerable location,” according to Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, NorthJersey.com reported that at a symposium in March, NJ Transit executive David Gillespie said he told New Jersey climate-change consultants to skip any analysis of its potential effects on train cars and engines because any impact would be unlikely.

Transit executive director James Weinstein said the agency’s choices for train storage before Sandy were limited. He said the yards were the best options he had based on the information available at the time.

According to Transportation Nation, Weinstein said that NJ Transit stored equipment in Pennsylvania during 2011’s Hurricane Irene, and the equipment became stuck because of inland flooding and falling trees.

Weinstein said that Hurricane Sandy caused about $400 million in total damage to New Jersey Transit, and the system would need another $800 million to reinforce it against future storms, according to The New York Times.

Some of those numbers included more than $100 million in damaged rail equipment and rolling stock, and $300 million to fix and replace tracks, wires, signaling, and electrical substations. 62 of 203 locomotives were damaged, and 261 out of 1,162 rail cars required repair.

 

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