May 25, 2006

Power outage stops Washington-New York trains

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A power outage shut down train service
between New York and Washington at rush hour on Thursday,
stranding passengers in tunnels and forcing evacuations on some
of the country's most traveled lines.

Power was partially restored along the corridor around 90
minutes after the outage began around 8 a.m., national rail
company Amtrak said in a statement.

Full trains running on electric lines went dark and came to
a halt, passengers said.

"It just stopped," said public relations executive Liz
Anklow, stuck on a New Jersey Transit train for two hours. "It
started to get very hot in there" before railroad workers
opened doors for ventilation.

There was no indication what caused the outage that
affected Amtrak and several commuter rail operators.

Elwood King, a road foreman for Amtrak in Philadelphia,
told Reuters power was back on for most of the line between New
York and Washington except for a gap between Philadelphia a
point near Trenton, New Jersey.

Five trains had been stuck in tunnels in New York and
Baltimore, Amtrak said in a statement. Diesel locomotives
removed four of them, and another diesel engine was on its way
to rescue a train stuck in the Hudson River Tunnel, it said.

A company spokesman declined to say how many passengers and
trains were affected.

Amtrak said it had restored power between Washington and
Perryville, Maryland, about 40 miles north of Baltimore. It
said it expected full power restored by 11:15 a.m.

"Trains are moving under their own power between those
points, but train service on the remainder of the Northeast
Corridor northward to New York remains stopped as Amtrak crews
work to restore power on the remainder of the route," its
statement said.

New Jersey Transit said the outage halted its two most
heavily traveled lines, which move 70,000 passengers per
weekday, and some trains destined for midtown Manhattan were

Shortly after 10 a.m., Amtrak announced an express train
from Philadelphia to Washington was about to depart. It was to
be towed by a diesel engine until reaching an area where power
was restored.

"I arrived in Philadelphia after waiting on a train for
about two hours," said Rohit Kapoor, who was trying to get from
New York to Baltimore for a business meeting. The train was
pulled into Philadelphia by a diesel locomotive.

"It was very hot and uncomfortable because the air
conditioning was not working," he said. "It's very