Winter storm rakes Northeast rail lines

Written by Stuart Chirls, Senior Editor
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A downed tree shut down service on the MBTA Green Line D branch near Chestnut Hill, Mass., March 7, 2018. Photo: MBTA via Twitter.

Passenger rail operators were returning some lines to service in the Northeast after a second straight Nor'easter whipsawed the region with heavy snow.

Snow in some places fell at the rate of three inches per hour and disrupted commuter and intercity services from New Jersey to Massachusetts.

In New York City, some commuters let out of work early were forced to spend the night at Grand Central Terminal after Metro-North Railroad cancelled trains on the Harlem, New Haven, and Hudson lines due to fallen trees blocking tracks, signal power problems, and weather-related infrastructure issues. By early Thursday, service was still suspended.

New Jersey Transit had re-opened service on just one of eight lines Thursday. The Raritan Valley Line was operating only between Raritan and Newark after crews removed more than 70 fallen trees blocking the tracks.

Amtrak deployed a modified schedule Wednesday and cancelled dozens of trains ahead of the storm on services from Washington to Boston. It expected to resume operations between New York Penn Station and Boston early Thursday. The carrier said one of its trains had been delayed Wednesday when it stopped to rescue passengers from an unidentified commuter train that was without heat and interior power.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Keolis Commuter Services went to a modified schedule on Wednesday, substituting bus service for some trains. A train derailed in Wilmington, Mass., early Thursday, but no injuries were reported.

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