Amtrak, NJ Transit Power Outage Halts Penn Station Service

June 21, 2019

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

An overhead line power outage created havoc for Amtrak commuters on many of the carrier’s Northeast Corridor routes between New York’s Penn Station and Philadelphia on Wednesday.  NJ Transit also operates on Amtrak-owned rails, meaning its passengers were also stuck for periods in the morning and afternoon. 

All service in and out of Penn station was stopped during the outages, and three trains were stuck in the Hudson River tunnels during the morning outage with no power or air conditioning.  Rescue engines were dispatched to tow them to safety, and once in Penn Station, firefighters were dispatched to help passengers from their trains.

While neither outage lasted long – the morning outage was restored within about 15 minutes and the afternoon outage in about 30 minutes – the issues resulted in up to two-hour delays for commuters. 

A third delay occurred due to a transformer malfunction between Metropark and new Brunswick, New Jersey, but by about 5:00pm, both Amtrak and NJ Transit were running on time for the most part.

The delays certainly caused anxiety for impacted passengers and resulted in many being late for work, missing classes and other appointments, and generally made the commutes inconvenient, at best.  It’s yet another example of how reliant businesses are on electricity for operational continuity.

But, power outages come with even greater risks for the systems on which businesses depend because they create voltage fluctuations that can break microcircuits in servers, switches and other hardware that support communications and other business functions.  When those systems go down, businesses are left operationally helpless until repairs can be made.  Sometimes, finding and installing replacement hardware can take days or even weeks, putting entire businesses at risk of failure.

The answer is a power protection system, purpose-built to regulate power into businesses to ensure clean voltage is distributed to technology, eliminating risk of damage.  These systems can be designed for the smallest to largest of businesses to protect all critical infrastructure.  In addition, UPS features keep systems running long enough for them to be manually shut down, protecting against data loss when power fails. 

There’s nothing businesses can do about power outages – or about commuting delays – but they can ensure that, when power issues do arise, their infrastructure is protected to ensure business continuity once electric service is restored.

Edited by Erik Linask