Off the Rails, Destination Unknown - NBC 10 Philadelphia
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Off the Rails, Destination Unknown

NJ Transit's only rail line through South Jersey has been shut down since September. NBC10 Investigators asked when it would start again, and reviewed hundreds of inspections that showed safety issues across the entire system.

The Atlantic City rail line of NJ Transit, which connects Philadelphia to the casino shore destination, has been out of service since September. 

Its shutdown was in the name of safety, according to transit officials in Gov. Phil Murphy's administration. But the biggest safety requirement, installing a system called Positive Train Control, was finished by December.

State lawmakers who represent South Jersey have asked for a timeline for the return of service, but so far, their inquiries have turned up no certain date.

"Every single rail line is running in the state except this one," Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo said in a recent interview at the Egg Harbor City stop along the Atlantic City line. "I have a real problem with that."

When Will NJ Transit’s Atlantic City Rail Line Start Again?When Will NJ Transit’s Atlantic City Rail Line Start Again?

The New Jersey Transit’s Atlantic City rail line stopped running in September. Some are asking when the line will reopen but it's proven a challenge finding the answer.

(Published Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019)

NJ Transit's safety concerns go beyond installation of PTC, which has been mandated by Congress for all railroad systems. NBC10, in a review of federal inspection reports, found hundreds of problems discovered aboard trains across the transit system.

Our broadcast special report on NJ Transit's inspection record, and what Gov. Murphy and his new transit chief have to say can be watched here.

Here is a sampling of the inspection reports, showing a range of issues:

The locomotive engineer is in a passenger seat “stretched out in the sleeping position with his personal cell phone on and in use … in no way attending the equipment he was on.” The inspector notes the train is “unsecure” meaning the brake was not fully applied.

An event recorder, used to dissect incidents after they happen, is overdue for a mandated inspection deadline. During the federal investigation of the deadly 2017 Hoboken crash, the event recorder in that incident was found to be non-functional.

Fire Hazard: Ticket collectors’ paper “seat checks” are found “scattered over the top of bare wire.” High voltage electrical boxes are discovered open.

A locomotive is found "not in proper condition and safe to operate." The inspector notes "complete air-brake reservoir failure."

A bathroom door is found "secured with duct tape."

NJ Transit Trouble: A Shut Down South Jersey Rail Line and a Plethora of Safety IssuesNJ Transit Trouble: A Shut Down South Jersey Rail Line and a Plethora of Safety Issues

NJ Transit's only rail line through South Jersey has been shut down since September. NBC10 Investigators asked when it would start again, and reviewed hundreds of inspections that showed safety issues across the entire system.

(Published Friday, Feb. 8, 2019)