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Delays Continued in Hudson Tunnel Despite Lower Ridership in 2020

The infrastructure failures that delay trains and cause headaches for train travelers in the 110 year-old North River Tunnel continued in 2020, according to new data from the Northeast Corridor Commission released by the Gateway Development Commission.

While the number of trains, passengers and subsequent delays decreased during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, overall in 2020 the frequency of delays remained largely consistent with prior years and is increasing in early 2021 as service returns.

The data was revealed by the Commission at its board meeting.

According to the data passengers experienced 12,653 minutes of delay in 2020 due to problems caused by aging tunnel infrastructure. Delays occurred on 54 different days in 2020 and were attributed to a variety of causes involving the electrical power, signal and track systems.

With decreased levels of service due to the pandemic the magnitude of impact of infrastructure problems was less severe during the middle of 2020. Passengers returning to the system in the first three months of 2021, however, already experienced 10 days of 100 or more minutes of delay and a total of 3,416 minutes of delay during that same period.

GDC Co-Chairs and Vice-Chair Steven M. Cohen, Balpreet Grewal-Virk and Anthony Coscia said, “This new data once again illustrates the fragile nature of the century-old tunnel system underpinning the entire Northeast Corridor and the urgent need to move the Hudson Tunnel Project forward to full construction. A new, state-of-the-art tunnel, and a fully rehabilitated existing tunnel, will eliminate problems like these and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of daily commuters who rely on train travel every day.”

The Commission also voted today to approve a number of new policies as it continues to ramp up. These policies include the following: Whistleblower Protection, Lobbying Contacts, Public Records Access, and Acquisition and Disposition of Property.

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