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Study: 5-hour rail delays occurred 85 times in past 5 years

July 22, 2019
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FILE - In this March 12, 2016, file photo, an Amtrak train passes a New Jersey Transit train stopped to discharge and board passengers at Elizabeth train station in Elizabeth, N.J., along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. A review conducted on behalf of New Jersey Transit and Amtrak Rail concludes that delays of five hours or more for commuters between New Jersey and New York have occurred about 17 times per year in recent years. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)
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FILE - In this March 12, 2016, file photo, an Amtrak train passes a New Jersey Transit train stopped to discharge and board passengers at Elizabeth train station in Elizabeth, N.J., along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. A review conducted on behalf of New Jersey Transit and Amtrak Rail concludes that delays of five hours or more for commuters between New Jersey and New York have occurred about 17 times per year in recent years. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Passengers traveling between New Jersey and New York have experienced rail delays of five hours more than once per month in recent years, according to a study released Monday.

The review was conducted on behalf of New Jersey Transit and Amtrak and released at the monthly meeting of the group overseeing a multibillion-dollar project to build a second Hudson River rail tunnel and a new rail bridge over New Jersey’s Hackensack River.

The study was conducted by the Northeast Corridor Commission, a Congress-established group that promotes cooperation and planning among the various rail lines that use the corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C.

The commission reviewed roughly 3 million train movements from the beginning of 2014 to the end of 2018. It concluded there were 85 instances in which rail service was delayed five hours or more, costing commuters almost 2,000 hours in extra transit time.

About three-quarters of the delays were caused by problems on the tunnel connecting New Jersey and New York, according to the study. About one-quarter were caused by problems at the Portal North Bridge over the Hackensack River. Both the tunnel and bridge are more than 100 years old.

The nearly $13 billion tunnel project and an associated $1.6 billion project to build a new bridge have been stalled by disputes between New York and New Jersey and the federal government over how the cost will be divided up.

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This version of the story corrects the estimated cost of the tunnel to nearly $13 billion instead of $13.7 billion.

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