NEW YORK — NJ Transit's streak of chaos-free commuting ended on Wednesday as a result of signal problems at New York Penn Station.

Trains were delayed by 45 to 60 minutes because of Amtrak signal issues in the East River tunnel, creating large crowds on the platforms for both NJ Transit and LIRR riders.

The tunnel is used by NJ Transit to turn their trains around in the Sunnyside Yard in Queens for the return trip to the Garden State.

Amtrak, which maintains and operates Penn Station, restricted entry into Penn Station because of overcrowding.

Justin Lew Block, who rides the Morris & Essex Line to Dover, said his 5:41 p.m. train boarded 25 minutes late. "Every seat is occupied and people are standing in the aisles like sardines," Block said.

"There was a period with ZERO trains posted to leave in middle of rush hour," Northeast Corridor rider Tom Calabria said. "The autobot announcements were all conflicting and useless."

Another complaint among NJ Transit riders was the lack of immediate cross-honoring with buses and PATH trains. Cross honoring for buses only went into effect around 6 p.m. The agency was also dealing with buses detoured out of the Lincoln Tunnel because of a tractor trailer fire in the Meadowlands and a closure on Route 46 that created large delays on Route 3.

NJ Transit and Amtrak, meanwhile, continue planning for the expected delays to be created by the summer's infrastructure work at New York Penn Station.

Commuter Michael Kasdan from South Orange had the best commute of all as he worked from home.

"Part of my coping strategy," Kasdan said. "Winning!"

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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