SECAUCUS — NJ Transit's bad Thursday continued with a suspension of service because of a problem with the Amtrak-owned Portal Bridge.

The century-old bridge got stuck in the open position late in the morning, leading NJ Transit to suspend service in and out of New York Penn Station late on Thursday morning. Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams told New Jersey 101.5 at 12:30 p.m  "the bridge is locked in place and trains are running again."

New Jersey Transit said they resumed service with 60 minute delays just before 1 p.m. Midtown Direct eastbound service will operate into NY Penn with westbound service departing Hoboken Terminal.

Cancelled trains on the board at Penn Station New York
Cancelled trains on the board at Penn Station New York (Ryan Pulford via Twitter @RyanPullford)

Earlier, Abram said the problem developed during a monthly bridge inspection/testing.  "Upon trying to close it there was a problem with the signal system.

Amtrak is responsible for the maintenance of the facilities and track on the Northeast Corridor.

The bridge snafu comes during a week in which NJ Transit has had to cancel or delay a hundred trains as a result of weather-related and staffing problems.

Gov.-elect Phil Murphy's incoming administration on Wednesday asked Gov. Chris Christie's appointees at the agency to resign. And Senate Transportation Chairman Bob Gordon, D-Bergen, told New Jersey 101.5: “It’s no way to run a railroad."

Passenger Julie Messersmith said on Twitter that she had been sitting on a Northeast Corridor train for about an hour heading into New York just south of the bridge.

"Now we're moving back to Newark and on our own," she wrote in a Twitter message. Moments later she said the train reversed direction and headed back north.

Story continues after the tweets

Earlier in the day, NJ Transit canceled 10 trains during the morning commute  because of operational and mechanical issues, according to a count of notices on the agency's Twitter accounts.

Amtrak also reported an overhead wire problem at New York Penn Station that led to 20 minute delays for the start of the commute .

The Portal Bridge, which opens in order to allow marine traffic to pass on the Hackensack River, supports about 450 trains a day. A second two-track Portal South Bridge span has been proposed as part of the Gateway Project.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ and be part of our Commuter Advisory Board.

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