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'No Estimate' for Morris Train Service Restoration

NJ Transit spokesman said damage along Morris and Essex line was one of the worst seen.

New Jersey Transit spokesman John Durso, Jr. has no estimate for when rail service along the Morris and Essex line will resume.

"The damage wrought on the M&E was amongst the worst suffered by any NJ Transit rail line in the state," Durso said in an email to Patch. "There are no estimates ... [for when] the M&E can safely resume service."

To help residents commute to Manhattan, New Jersey Transit has established three methods of transportation free of charge starting Friday. Inbound service runs from 6 to 10 a.m., and outbound service runs from 4 to 8 p.m. Service includes:

  • Free shuttle service between Morristown Station and Weehawken Ferry Terminal, with free ferry service between Weehawken and Pier 79 at West 39th Street.
  • Free shuttle service between Convent, Madison and Chatham stations and Liberty State Park, with free ferry service between Liberty State Park and Battery Park.
  • Free shuttle service between Maplewood Station and Liberty State Park, with free ferry service between Liberty State Park and Battery Park.

There are also buses available from the Madison and Chatham train stations for $20 roundtrip.

Durso said crews are working to restore service along the Morris and Essex line. Damage along the line includes tree damage between Denville and Morristown stations and Summit and Milburn stations, and overhead wire damage throughout the line, including signal wires and catenary polls down.

"Most critically," Durso said, there was "extensive flooding in the vicinity of Kearny Junction [which] resulted in the washout of rail ballasts under the tracks," which affects service into Hoboken and New York via the Midtown Direct service.

 
Ron Swanson November 09, 2012 at 01:52 PM
"Durso said crews are working to restore service along the Morris and Essex line." What does that mean? That tells us nothing. It's almost 2 weeks post storm, and while we understand that damage occurred, it's time to release a plan for and timeframe for restoration. NJT caught flat-footed with it's management clearly not up to the task. Maybe when our Governor is done congratulating Obama on his re-election, he can turn his attention to shaking up the bureaucrats at NJT and getting the M&E back up, which he should remember is ridden on a daily basis by his political base.
kjchat November 09, 2012 at 02:44 PM
So, its a "Midtown Direct" service, and they replace it with ferry service to a remote part of downtown, not near any subways... but Morristown gets busses to Weehawken midtown ferry... makes no sense. Why not run the busses right into port authority??
kjchat November 09, 2012 at 02:45 PM
At least say no definitive timetable, but it will conceivably be 2 weeks, a month, 6 months, something..
NJ Young Professional November 09, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Not a good news story for a town recently marketed as a “Transit Village”. It is essential that we have better communication & planning in place around our current storm issues and our go forward mass transit infrastructure strategy. If not, we are going to impact our ability to keep current residents / attract potential new residents who are considering living in Morristown when they work / like to go out in NYC. I don’t understand how the town (or is it just “village” now) is not all over this one?
kjchat November 09, 2012 at 03:28 PM
can return to NJ transit for full refund. TODAY is the last day to do it... either postmark today or return to a ticket window TODAY... yet another think they did not communicate... its merely a footnote at the bottom of the latest notices...
TCG November 09, 2012 at 03:35 PM
NJ Transit can't do anything right on a sunny day in June. Does anyone really expect them to fare better in the wake of a hurricane? They have a monopoly and therefore zero incentive to provide reliable and courteous service. The very fact that it's been almost two weeks since the storm and they are still refusing to tell us anymore than "service suspended until further notice" is just a shining example of the arrogance they display daily from the brass all the way down the rude and utterly confused conductors. The trains are perpetually late, overcrowded and expensive. But what options do we really have? NJ Transit knows this, and therefore has no concern whatsoever for their riders. Anyone who rides this incompetent, and backwards rail line knows this to be true. It makes you wonder what, if anything, is actually being done to fix the tracks.
kjchat November 09, 2012 at 03:37 PM
did you read the article?? FREE busses out of Morristown to Weehawken ferry terminal, then free Ferry with bus connection at 39th stree in NY.
Chatham Newbie November 09, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Bravo, TCG! NJTransit gets it wrong on everything.... I recently moved from a CT/MetroNorth commute and the difference is startling. I was shocked to see such shoddy service, high prices, rude personnel, late service... And as for Penn Station/NYC, the less said the better. The storm just underlines how bad everything already was. Can we do something more than gripe though?
M+E Commuter November 09, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Anybody out there use the emergency shuttle From Morristown to Weehawken this morning (then free ferry to 39th street)? If so, how was it? (considering attempting next week).
Javelin November 09, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Idiot, Christie placed one phone call to Obama. Took all of 3 minutes.
Jon T November 09, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I was on the first bus from Morristown at 6 am with only 10 or so other people. The buses are supposed to run continuously every 10 minutes. There was an accident just beyond the Lincoln tunnel toll on the turnpike, which delayed about 15-20 minutes. We were on a 7:20 ferry (not crowded at all) and at the office in Rock Center by 7:45. The real test will be the trip home. Can't be worse than the PABT. NJT reps at both Morristown and the ferry terminal giving directions/help. Unfortunately, I think anything ~2hrs will be the new normal for a while. We'll see once the crowds come next week.
M+E Commuter November 09, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Thanks Jon- info. much appreciated. I agree, anything has to be better than PABT this week. Good luck on the commute home!
ChathamBoroResident November 09, 2012 at 06:44 PM
NJ transit's communication has been awful. We need to read between the lines here to understand the implicit message. There are 7 commuter lines going into NYC / Hoboken: NE Corridor North Jersey Coast Raritan Valley Morris & Essex Main/Bergen/Port Jervis Montclair-Boonton Pasack Valley They have announced these new bus/ferry services for 4 of these lines: Northeast Corridor NJ Coast Morris and essex Montclair-Boonton The implicit message is that the other 3 train lines (Raritan Valley, Main/Berge/Port Jervis and Pascack Valley) will be back in service soon (next week?) NE corrridor and NJ coast line have had partial service- main issue is crowding.Those will also be restored in a week or so. The news is not good for the Morris and Esses Line and the Montclair Boonton line. Apparently these lines were very severely damanged and need to be rebuilt. So you are not going to wake up on Monday and read that service has been restored on those lines (or the monday after that, or the following monday after that for that matter). My best guess is that we are looking at a long term construction project for the morris and essex and montclair-boonton lines that is going to take 1-3 months. i.e. these lines will likely not be open until the 1st quarter of 2013. The other piece of the puzzle is that NJ Transit lost a lot of rail cars and the only factory that makes them is in canada and is on strike!. So that will make recovery even slower.
Javelin November 09, 2012 at 06:49 PM
great. looks like I'll be driving into the city agai and paying $40 for parking.
Martatown November 09, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Maybe JCP&L and NJTRANSIT are having a contest to see who can screw their high paying customers the most. Gov needs to get on NJT next!! We need more monopolies and unions....not!!
Diana B. Clark November 09, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Does a anyone know or have a link to info on the $20 shuttle bus from Chatham to NYC - where in NYC? or does it only go to one of the ferries? And will that shuttle bus run on the weekend?
kjchat November 09, 2012 at 07:44 PM
it's on the Borough website. Goes to Penn Station, not PA. Can only take it home of you were on it on the way in, and there are 3 departure times I think. Separate from the bus to Liberty State park (free by NJ Transist, starting today)
kjchat November 09, 2012 at 07:46 PM
waiting for the eventual song and dance about the forthcoming fare increase to pay for all the damage and lost revenue...
Jeanne November 09, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Leonard, I would like to thank your for the compliment regarding Passaic Valley Coaches, as I know the owners. They are good, responsible, small business people who care about quality service and their reputation. :o)
Ron Swanson November 09, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Hey Javelin, ever hear of "figurative speech" or using sarcasm to drive home a point? Apparently not. The fact that Christie's call to Obama may have taken 3 minutes is beside the point. Let me dumb this down for you. In my view, Christie is not focused on lighting a fire under NJT to get the M&E running again. You may disagree, and that's fine.
Leonard Resto November 10, 2012 at 01:22 AM
The Passaic Valley Coach bus service is a "go" for Monday, 11/12. 3 buses- one at 6 AM, one at 7AM and one at 7:30AM. The cost is $20 round trip. The buses are comfortable, the ride is smooth and they drop off at 33rd Street & 8th Ave. In the A.M. the 6AM bus gets there at 6:45AM. Tons better than NJT. Evening ride home takes an hour to an hour and 10 minutes depending on traffic volume. If enough people take the Passaic Valley buses, they may consider continuing the service. For me, it's worth the cost because I work in mid-town and being dropped off at Battery Park with the downtown NY subway stations closed due to flood damage, I am going to have to walk to Chambers St. or Brooklyn Bridge to get uptown. NJT might as well drop us off on Ellis Island. All we want of NJT is information as to how long they think the suspension will last. If it's 2 weeks, I'll make a certain set of plans. If it's 2 months, I may make totally different plans. NJT just doesn't get it...and never will.
Tom November 10, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Agree with Leonard and so many others, the lack of communication is appalling. I sent emails to NJ Transit and my state representatives telling them the same. Got the usual response, none... Tell us how long we are going to have to deal with this and we can make plans accordingly. A daily "suspended until further notice" is not an update, it's a cop out! I guess the proper term would be NJ Transit Mis-Manager.
Richard Adams November 10, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Good fellow-persons of Chatham... please indulge with me on this question. I have been out of the office for two weeks now and need to get back into Manhattan somehow! While doing some research, it seems that there is a NJT bus (#70) that will go from River Road (near the new Equinox) to Newark Penn.... and I assume that there might be some trains running from there into NY Penn. Does this seem worth a try? Does anyone know if rail tickets are being cross-honored? This is so upsetting, by the way! And... thanks!
Leonard Resto November 10, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Hi, Richard. The #70 goes to Newark Penn Station. There is no PATH service from Newark into New York; so, you'll be forced to get onto a crowded Northeast Corridor (NEC) train for the ride to NY. You can also change buses in Springfield to the #140 that goes into the Port Authority Bus Terminal. I have a friend who is doing that and the trip time is just over 2 hours. By far the easiest way to go is the Passaic Valley buses for however long they'll last. Call Borough Hall on Monday and ask to be put on the carpool list. Many people are willing to carpool if the bus situation doesn't work out for you. Good luck.
Diana B. Clark November 10, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Thank you very much for the bus info. I am still trying to find out if anyone is running a service to midtown on Saturdays, since clearly the trains we all relied on for so long are going to be AWOL for many weeks to come ... I have a memorial service to attend in midtown on Nov 17 and tickets to Saturday matinees now through well into the New Year. A trivial/petty problem compared to losing one's house, of course, but I can't help wanting to get back at least a simulacrum of normality,
ChathamGuy November 11, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Maybe some partial restoration to the Morris/Essex line this week. No good details, but I'll take it as a positive. http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/11/more_nj_transit_rail_lines_to.html#incart_river_default
m.jones November 11, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Community Bus leaves from Headquarters Plaza/Morristown and goes into Port Authority - 42nd and 8th. The ride took forever, but I got there! http://www.coachusa.com/community/
Alex Sykes November 11, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Thank you for that link, it looks promising for Morris & Essex. Partial restoration is a good start.
Mike November 11, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Leonard, thank you for the heads-up on the Passaic Valley Buses. I need to be in Midtown on Tues. morning. I usually take NJT from Convent Station. Can you please tell us where exactly we can catch the Passaic Valley Buses, and the parking situation?
clyde donovan November 11, 2012 at 03:54 AM
NJ Transit has been laying off workers because the areas of service will be down for a long time. If James Weinstein of NJ Transit won't confirm this, then ask the union leaders.

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