Stranded in a sweltering tunnel with no lights, no air conditioning, and no cell service, train passengers say they had no choice but to wait for the power to come back on.
"We were on the tracks for like a good 45 minutes to an hour," said John Stone, one commuter who says he was stranded on the train. “There's no air flow whatsoever, people just want to get off the trains… it was crazy."
Amtrak officials say one of its trains, and two New Jersey Transit trains became disabled in a Penn Station tunnel around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday after problems with overhead electrical wires more than 60 miles away forced rail operators to stop every train between New York and Philadelphia for about 30 minutes.
"It's a mad house down there! I mean, I never seen the lines like this before," said Stone.
The service stoppage caused a ripple of delays and cancellations and plenty of headaches at America's busiest rail hub.
Some commuters taking the blip in stride, saying they've have grown accustomed to Penn Station's history of woe.
“I feel fine,” said Marcy Stein, another passenger who’s commute was effected by the incident. “These are some of the challenges we have to deal with in major metropolitan cities. “
Others were not as forgiving, as residual delays stretched on for hours.
"Three canceled. I’m trying to get to Hillsdale and they keep going one by one by one. And they just canceled my 12:30 p.m. ten minutes ago,” said commuter Laura Prichard. "Nobody's communicating. They just keep apologizing for canceling them. It wasn't until i ran into an Amtrak guy and he said, ‘Yeah, there's a power outage. It would have been easier if they communicated.’"
An Amtrak official apologized for the lack of communication, saying the company uses Twitter to get information out.
"I'm sorry that they had to deal with that, it's obviously frustrating,” said Amtrak spokesperson Jason Abrams. “We do have a twitter account for those on social media."
In theory, it may have been a decent way to get the word out, but it certainly wasn’t not much help for travelers who were stranded in the tunnel without cell service.