NJ reps demand investigation into Amtrak on Northeast Corridor delays

New Jersey lawmakers are asking the Transportation Department to launch an investigation into Amtrak regarding the lengthy delays that have plagued the Northeast Corridor in recent weeks.

Reps. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) and Rob Menendez (D-N.J.) led the New Jersey congressional delegation in sending a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday that asked for an investigation into the delays. They wrote that they have “been shocked and deeply concerned” by the delays, calling them “completely unacceptable.”

“We therefore ask that the Department of Transportation conduct a thorough investigation into what led to the breakdowns along the Northeast Corridor route and what additional capital projects need to be completed to fix any structural deficiencies,” the lawmakers wrote.

The group of lawmakers wrote that their offices have been inundated with comments from their constituents over the “dramatic delays” in their Amtrak and NJ Transit commutes. The letter cited an incident from last Thursday when Amtrak service was suspended between New Haven, Conn., and Philadelphia due to power outages.

The suspension caused havoc for evening commuters using NJ Transit and Amtrak last Thursday, with many reporting that it took them hours to get home. The lawmakers said more than 130 NJ Transit trains were canceled or delayed as a result.

The delays continued into Friday morning due to a disabled commuter train.

The lawmakers noted that those recent delays were “not isolated incidents,” saying that Amtrak disruptions caused at least 19 “serious delays” for NJ Transit commuters over the last six weeks. They noted that NJ Transit is “merely a tenant” on the Northeast Corridor, adding that Amtrak owns and maintains the route.

They are also asking the department to provide more information on how it and Amtrak will respond to disruptions on the trains due to excessive heat. Amtrak warned earlier this week that high temperatures in the Northeast could cause delays.

Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.), one of the lawmakers who signed the letter, posted a photo on the social platform X of a train schedule board in New York’s Penn Station on Monday night that showed all the trains delayed.

“I popped into NYC tonight to meet with workers with SEIU 1199 and this was the mess when I got back to Penn Station. Absolutely unacceptable for all the NJ workers trying to get home,” he wrote.

A Transportation Department spokesperson said they have been “monitoring recent delays and outages” on NJ Transit and Amtrak. Personnel from the Federal Railroad Administration are “onsite assisting ongoing work to identify the cause of earlier disruptions,” they added.

“The Northeast Corridor that exists today is largely the product of investments dating back to the 1830s, and Amtrak continues to make incremental improvements to upgrade this aging infrastructure. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, for the first time in generations, we are funding significant, long-term projects to modernize the NEC and provide safer, faster and more reliable service for travelers and commuters. While these improvements will take time, they are already underway with additional funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in the pipeline,” the spokesperson said.

The Hill has reached out to Amtrak for comment.

Updated 5:20 p.m. ET.

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