NEWARK — It was a rough morning commute for NJ Transit commuters with the cancellation of nearly a dozen trains without an explanation until a statement was issued late Tuesday afternoon.

Based on a count of the individual NJ Transit line Twitter accounts, the Morris & Essex Line was the hardest hit with seven canceled trains. A reason was offered for only one train: the 8:56 a.m. from Trenton on the Northeast Corridor was blamed on "equipment issues."

NJ Transit said a number of issues were at fault that led to the cancellations including the installation and testing of PTC equipment which requires dedicated train crews to perform required testing and program support, and a higher-than-usual number of crew absences.

"NJ Transit has taken steps to address these issues by recruiting and training additional locomotive engineers. We anticipate a class graduating within the next couple of weeks that will add nine engineers to the roster. In addition, we have increased the number of current classes from two to four, running concurrently with staggered graduation dates, to continue the qualification of new engineers," read the statement.

A common thread on passenger Twitter messages was that trains were running with fewer cars than normal.

Brittany Line rides the Main Line from Lyndhurst to Hoboken daily and said her train appeared to be three cars short, creating overcrowding.

"No idea why but it made for some really unsafe travel conditions this morning. The conductors handled everything wonderfully and I can't say enough about their level of customer service. But the higher-ups making these decisions...that's where the problems lie as far as I'm concerned."

Line said her train was "so unsafely crowded that someone passed out on the floor. Thankfully, she came to and the conductor handled it perfectly and made sure there were medics waiting at Hoboken."

Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti did not return a message about the cancellations. Gutierrez-Scaccetti is also NJ Transit's chairwoman.

The following trains were canceled on Tuesday:

Morris & Essex

  • 7:17 a.m. (#6610) from Penn Station New York
  • 6:55 a.m. (#0481) from Hoboken
  • 7:41 a.m. (#0808) from Lake Hopatcong
  • 6:56 a.m. (#308) from Summit
  • 5:59 a.m. (#303) from Hoboken
  • 5:23 a.m. (#300) from Summit
  • 5:10 a.m. (#402) from Gladstone

North Jersey Coast Line:

  • 6:01 a.m. (#3216) from Long Branch

Northeast Corridor

  • 8:56 a.m. (#3934) from Trenton - equipment issues

Montclair-Boonton

  • 6:06 a.m. (#1000) from Lake Hopatcong

Pascack Valley Line

  • 7:23 a.m. (#1614( from Spring Valley)

Gutierrez-Scaccetti and Gov. Phil Murphy have promised improvement for NJ Transit riders including transparency for riders and improved communication about their trains.

How was your NJ Transit commute? Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ