New Jersey rail commuters are experiencing what some call ‘Summer of Hell 2’

A New Jersey Transit train leaves the Bound Brook Station in New Jersey. Commuters have faced many train cancellations recently. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

A New Jersey Transit train leaves the Bound Brook Station in New Jersey. Commuters have faced many train cancellations recently. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

New Jersey commuters trying to get into New York City this morning experienced long delays as 17 trains were cancelled. Last week wasn’t much better.

On social media, angry New Jersey Transit riders dealing with the delays are calling this “Summer of Hell 2” as the agency also plans to halt service on its Atlantic City line starting Sept. 4 to install positive train control, a safety system that can automatically stop trains to prevent a collision.

Last summer, New Jersey Transit commuters endured eight weeks of periodic delays — the first “Summer of Hell” — as tracks were improved near Penn Station in New York. But today’s cancellations were not announced ahead of time.

Janna Chernetz, the Deputy Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, said the agency needs to do a better job of informing customers about cancellations in a reasonable amount of time.

“To allow commuters to make a decision. I mean, this is the way they get to work,” she said. “Transportation and public transportation in New Jersey, it’s the backbone of the economy. And New Jersey Transit owes it to its customers to be able to keep up that line of communication.”

Assembly Republican members Anthony Bucco and Nancy Munoz are calling for legislative hearings into the cancellations and train overcrowding, saying the problems are getting worse.

New Jersey Transit has said it won’t meet a federal end-of-the-year deadline to complete installation of positive train control. It’s hoping to qualify for a two-year extension and avoid possible fines.

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