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    PATH trains go slow through area of two derailments   

Contributed by Ron Marsico
The Jersey Journal PATH trains leaving Hoboken for New York will be slowed to 5 mph along a short stretch of track where two minor derailments occurred, while authorities try to determine what caused the problems this week.

Michael DePallo, director and general manager of PATH for the Port Authority, said the agency is working with investigators from the Federal Railroad Administration to explain why the wheels of two different train cars left the track just a quarter-mile from the Hoboken station in the tunnel to Manhattan. One derailment happened last evening, the other on Sunday. "It's very unusual,'' said DePallo, who described the incidents as "a minor bump'' for passengers. He said he believes they were the first derailments on PATH lines during his 11 years with the agency.

Nobody was hurt in either incident and there was only minor damage to the track's power-supplying third rail in each case, according to DePallo. DePallo said the reduction of speed to 5 mph from upwards of 15 mph in that area would only add "a couple minutes'' to travel time from Hoboken to the Christopher Street station in Manhattan. The derailments occurred on a curve in the track and involved the fifth car of a train on Sunday and the fourth car of another train yesterday.

Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia said the incidents point up the importance of the agency's "aggressive,'' ongoing initiative to improve the PATH system, an initiative that includes purchasing an entire new fleet of rail cars at a cost in excess of $600 million.

Also today, the Port Authority officially joined forces as a partner with NJ Transit on the second trans-Hudson River rail tunnel that will double capacity from New Jersey to Penn Station, New York. The Port Authority's board approved a memorandum of understanding that will give the bi-state agency control of real-estate acquisition and construction of the project in New York, while NJ Transit will handle those tasks in New Jersey.

© 2007 The Jersey Journal

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