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Still No Answers in May Amtrak Power Outage

Thursday, June 22, 2006

New Jersey lawmakers grilled Amtrak executives about the electrical problems that have plagued the Northeast Corridor rails and frustrated commuters three times in the past month. Trasnportation Committee chairman, Senator Nichoals Sacco says if Amtrak and New Jersey Transit don't fix the problems commuters will start heading back into their cars.

SACCO: Amtrak can no longer turn its back on the 185,000 New Jersey commuters. If this continues, this commute will be the train ride to nowhere.

REPORTER: Amtrak's Senior vice president of operations, William Crosbie, says the railroad still has not pinpointed what caused its newest and largest substation to shut down last month, causing extensive delays. But Crosbie says the situation could have been worse.

CROSBIE: The quick actions taken by the personnel and our engineering department prevented a far more serious outage from occurring. A total system shutdown is a rare event. And bringing a system of our size and complexity back online within three hours is remarkable.

REPORTER: Crosbie would not say that Amtrak is underfunded, but he did say year to year budget allocations made planning difficult. He also says yesterday's 30-minute power outage had nothing to do with the May 25th incident. That power problem was the third in a month.

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