Sierra Club: NJ Transit Finally Looks to Move Trains out of Storm’s Way
Contact: Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100
NJ Transit Finally Looks to Move Trains out of Storm’s Way
NJ Transit officials want to purchase 25 acres of land in Middlesex County for future storm events. The land would be used as a dry area for parking trains to avoid damage. During Hurricane Sandy, 300 trains (261 train cars and 62 locomotives) were damaged from flooding after being left in rail yards that went underwater. The Meadows Maintenance Complex in Kearny, where many of the damaged trains were, had a predicted 10 to 13 feet storm surge. NJ Transit is currently negotiating with Conrail for the 25 acres of land in New Brunswick and North Brunswick.
“It’s about time that NJT did something to reduce flooding damage. It’s been five years since Hurricane Sandy and they’re finally trying to fix this major problem that caused so much devastation to NJ Transit. In 2012, 300 trains were damaged from flooding because they were left in the Meadowlands, a place that floods. The NJT’s mistakes left one of the best transportation systems in the country a wreck. A quarter of our railroad cars were damaged or destroyed, costing the taxpayers more than a billion dollars. It’s important that NJT is taking measures to prevent this sort of destruction during the next storm event,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “What they are finally doing is closing the barn door after the horses have already fled years ago. Hopefully this purchase will help prevent future damage to train cars during flood and storm events.”
In 2012, they did not move the trains because Mr. Weinstein said in the 30 years the Kearney rail yard has been open they have never had floods like this before. However, the Meadowlands environment is supposed to flood and everyone knows that it floods. There was a flooded in the storm surge of ‘62 with this storm projected to be higher. The FEMA maps show that this is in the flood plain but the Christie Administration has not adopted them. Also, the DEP Adaption Mapping on climate change has showed this area is vulnerable to storm surges, but the Christie Administration has killed that program. The same thing is true with Hoboken that has flooded more often. Instead of moving the equipment to higher ground when they knew the storm was coming they left it not taking the proper precaution has made transit riders suffer.
“During Hurricane Sandy, Nature brought the rain but NJ Transit Decision made it worse. Three weeks after the storm our transit was still not up and running throughout the state. Commuters in particular saw fares go up and services cut seeing constant delays and broken equipment. It only got worse because of all the damage equipment that needs to be fixed or replace. We must prevent this kind of damage from happening again during the next Hurricane or storm event and that’s why we support NJT purchasing dry land to store these trains on,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “New Jersey has one of the best transit systems in the country and Christie’s policies of cutting back in transit services and increasing fares are hurting that. It’s time to start making smart decisions to protect NJ Transit and the people of New Jersey.”