Multiple NJ Transit rail lines suspend service for night amid labor dispute –


Seven NJ Transit rail lines suspended all rail service Friday night due to a lack of available engineers attributed to an ongoing labor dispute that led to dozens of trains being canceled and delayed starting in the morning.

Service on the Northeast Corridor, Main-Bergen County, Montclair-Boonton, Pascack Valley, Raritan Valley and North Jersey Coast lines was “temporarily suspended for the rest of the service day,” NJ Transit announced in social media posts at about 6:30 p.m. Friday. The Morris & Essex line was added to that list of halted rail service shortly after the other service disruptions were announced.

No specific reason was given for the service suspension, but earlier delayed and canceled trains were labeled as due to “engineer availability.”

NJ Transit officials had said an “illegal job action” triggered a rash of canceled trains throughout the day on Friday after locomotive engineers failed to show up for work.

By mid-afternoon on Friday, the job action caused the cancelation of more than 55 trains and shut down the Princeton shuttle after engineers called out of work at “nearly triple the rate of an average weekday,” said Jim Smith, an NJ Transit spokesman told NJ Advance Media earlier.

“NJ Transit became aware of a rumor late in the day yesterday that the locomotive engineers’ union, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLE&T), could potentially initiate an illegal job action today,” Smith said in a statement ahead of the Friday night suspension.

“It is clear that this is the result of an illegal job action. NJ Transit is disappointed that the union would perpetrate such an act on the more than 100,000 commuters who depend on NJ Transit rail service every day,” he said.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen union did not respond to emails and phone calls to comment on the matter.

Shortly after 6 p.m., ABC7 in New York showed live video footage of big crowds of rail commuters packed wall-to-wall inside New York Penn Station, where they were waiting for NJ Transit trains. Some commuters expressed frustration over the delays and canceled trains, and one criticized the rail agency for not making announcements about the situation in Penn Station.

“It’s very frustrating,” one stranded rail commuter from New Jersey told ABC 7. “I mean you’re trying to get home, it’s Friday… you wanna go home, relax.”

The exact number of canceled trains and number of stranded commuters could not be confirmed Friday night. NJ Transit officials could not be reached for comment as of 6:50 p.m.

The schedule for the last trains that would run Friday night were posted by NJ Transit on its web site.

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Chris Sheldon may be reached at