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Train Stalls In Tunnel During Heat Wave; 20 Passengers Overcome

May 31, 1987

WEEHAWKEN, N.J. (AP) _ A train carrying more than 550 people lost power in a tunnel under the Hudson River for more than two hours during a record heat wave, and at least 20 had to be treated for heat exhaustion, authorities said Saturday.

All the injured were treated at nearby hospitals and released, said NJ Transit Corp. spokesman Anthony Grazioso.

″I imagine it was extremely hot and humid in the train,″ said Grazioso. ″Thank God there weren’t any serious injuries.″

Grazioso said that the Trenton-bound 10-car train stalled at 2:10 p.m. about a quarter mile from New York’s Penn Station after knocking down the overhead wires that power the engine. That also caused the train to lose its lights and air conditioning.

Passengers waited in the dark until 4:15 p.m, while officials tried to push the train out of the tunnel with a passenger engine, then tried to pull it out with a diesel freight engine, Grazioso said. Both efforts failed.

After the travelers were evacuated, they walked about half a mile through the tunnel and up a 175-foot-high flight of stairs to the closest exit located near the Lincoln Tunnel here.

The passengers were then bussed to their destinations, Grazioso said.

The accident happened on a day when the National Weather Service reported a record 97 degrees at Newark and Teterboro and in New York City.

Officials from Amtrak, which owns the tracks on which the NJ Tranist trains operate, were investigating the cause of the torn wires, Grazioso said.

The stalled train remained in the west-bound tube of the tunnel Saturday evening, he said. All trains were using the east-bound tube.

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