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The Empire State Passenger Association Newsletter, November-December 2001
Empire State
Passengers Association State


Highlights from


November-December 2001 Edition


The following is a summary of our association's bi-monthly newsletter. All ESPA members receive the unabridged version of this newsletter by mail. To join, print, complete, and mail the membersip form. Join today!!

Utica Station Concourse Skyway Bridge

On Monday October 29, 2001 at Utica Union Station, the new concourse skyway bridge was erected over the main line of CSX Railroad. The new bridge connects the existing structure and south platform with the under-construction north platform which will serve both Amtrak and Adirondack Scenic Railroad trains.

State Now Unlikely to Address Rail Property Taxes…

One of the effects of the tragic events of September 11th has been the near total emphasis by the Governor and Legislature on legislation and action to help in the recovery efforts in New York City and the state as a whole. Many other projects and concerns have not been acted on. Among these neglected initiatives is the reform of rail property taxes in the state. It now appears unlikely that the Legislature will address this matter in the remaining weeks of 2001.

As has been widely publicized, without such tax reform, the state's private railroads will not permit much needed track improvements, including the critical Albany – Schenectady double tracking, to proceed.

Currently, the lawsuits filed by CSX and other railroads continue to progress through the legal process. It is likely that an initial court decision will take at least a year to be determined. Regardless of this outcome, a lengthy appeals process is an almost certainty. Experts speculate that a final legal decision could take years!

What will happen next in Albany is unknown. ESPA will continue to urge the Governor and Legislative Leaders to address rail property tax reform as soon as possible. Such action early in the 2002 session, could possibly allow for actual construction to proceed before 2003.

ESPA's Albany Representative, Joe Landry, continuously monitors this issue at the Capital. As necessary, ESPA members will be notified if immediate action is warranted.

Bruce B. Becker

Support Grows as Congress bails out Airlines

The September 11th events have increased Amtrak ridership and public support and generated almost unprecedented pro-rail activity in Congress--but all of it pales compared to what Congress has already done for airlines and large corporations. In the days following the attacks, editorials and columnists all over the country urged a greater role for railroads. On September 19th, 16 senators, led by Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Ernest Hollings (D-SC) wrote to Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta asking support for $3.1 billion in emergency Amtrak funds to improve security and add capacity. (Hollings chairs the Subcommittee that authorizes Amtrak funds). New York Senators Schumer and Clinton joined in signing the letter.

Two days later Congress passed a $15 billion dollar airline aid bill that includes $120 million for money losing "essential" air services and President Bush signed it the next day. It was a "masterful" effort, according to Senator Peter Fitzgerald, (R-IL), who cast the only "No" vote. An Oct. 10th New York Times article reported that the day after the attack "platoons of highly experienced and well connected lobbyists began sorting through their options" and laying out strategy. Among them, according to the Times, was American Airlines lobbyist Linda Hall Daschle, wife of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD).

Two days later (Sept. 24), the Washington Post editorialized in support of a national rail network, including long distance trains even if they are unprofitable. The Post pointed out that "Federal subsidies for other transportation...have not been limited to the most heavily populated corridors, nor should they be."

The following day House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Young, (R-AK), introduced HR-2950, a sweeping new high speed rail funding bill called "Ride 21." Jack Quinn, (R-Buffalo), who chairs the Rail Subcommittee, co-sponsored HR-2950 with Young.

Although "Ride 21" would authorize spending $71 billion over 10 years--a huge step up in the amount being considered for rail—its provisions have raised questions. First, it appears that very little of the money would actually consist of federal grants. Roughly half ($36 billion) would come through bonds issued by states. The states would pay interest and principle; interest would be exempt from federal taxes for the purchaser. The other half ($35 billion) would come as federal loans or loan guarantees which could also be used for maglev or freight railroads.

The only "real money" appears to be a $35 million annual authorization for the Swift Act high speed rail development program—a small amount when spread over all the proposed corridors. This puts rail in a very different category from highway and aviation, whose generous guaranteed funding streams cover up to 80%-90% of each project with federal funds that don't need to be repaid.

HR-2950 bonds can be used only on routes designed for 125MPH cruising without highway crossings. But a 1997 Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) study of potential corridors suggests that the extra cost required for 125MPH running makes this less cost effective than 90-110MPH, which can more easily be accommodated on existing infrastructure. (The Alaska Railroad is exempt from this requirement.)

Finally, Ride 21 projects would be controlled, financed and developed by states, with approval by the Secretary of Transportation. Amtrak would have no say in their development, but could compete with other parties to operate the service.

In an October 2 hearing, Young and Oberstar debated the merits of Ride 21 vs. HR-2329, the High Speed Rail Investment Act, (HSRIA) which Oberstar had introduced earlier with Amo Houghton, (R-Corning). Young wants to give control to the states, not Amtrak; Oberstar said we need a national program, not a state-by-state approach and that giving Amtrak control means working through an existing program. (Both bills give USDOT project approval authority.) HSRIA provides federal tax credits in lieu of interest on bonds while Ride 21 makes this interest exempt from federal taxes; witnesses disagreed about their relative merits and Oberstar ended by saying "We need both." There seemed agreement on two points--HR-2950's 125MPH minimum is not practical for most of the U.S., and its lack of a direct federal share would deter state investment for rail in view of high federal support for other modes.

Meanwhile the Senate debated whether to include Amtrak's $3.12 billion security-capacity package in the emerging airport security bill. New York's Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke in favor and Joe Biden (D-DE), perhaps the Senate's most passionate Amtrak supporter, was joined by several others in threatening to hold up the airport safety bill if the Amtrak package was not included. On October 2nd the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on transportation security at which the Amtrak package came up again. Kay Bailey Hutchison said she would not support the Amtrak package unless it included more for long distance trains outside the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak President George Warrington said half the cars to be overhauled would be for the long distance network.

Biden-McCain make a Deal. Three days later (Oct. 5), Biden and Richard Durbin (D-IL) offered their amendment to add Amtrak's $3.12 billion to the airport security bill. This riled some senators, including John McCain, one of Amtrak's most persistent adversaries. But a week later (Oct. 11) McCain and Biden struck a deal: McCain would support a smaller Amtrak package ($1.8 billion) for security only and Biden would stop trying to add it to the airport security bill.

On the same day, exactly one month after the terrorist attacks, Hollings, New York's Chuck Schumer and 8 other senators introduced a new bill called "Rail 21" (S-1530). For starters the Railroad Advancement and Infrastructure Law for the 21st Century would eliminate Amtrak's self sufficiency requirement. It would also authorize Amtrak's full emergency request, now $3.15 billion, for systemwide security upgrades, safety improvements for New York and Baltimore tunnels and other Northeast Corridor upgrades. The $3.15 billion would also include $656 million to overhaul and return 45 cars and 5 locomotives to service, upgrade and overhaul 231 cars and 33 locomotives and buy 10 new trainsets. At least 25% of the equipment funds would be used for operations outside the Northeast Corridor. Like Young's Ride 21 House bill, Rail 21 would authorize $35 billion in loans and loan guarantees for railroads (including freight). It would authorize $50 million annually (vs. Young's $35M) for corridor development under the Swift Bill through 2009. Finally, it would authorize $1.2 billion for Amtrak operations for fiscal year 2003, when Amtrak must live without federal operating support under current law.

The following week (Oct. 17th) the Senate Commerce Committee passed a new Rail Security Act, (S-1550) sponsored by Chairman Hollings and Ranking Minority member McCain. It embodies the Biden-McCain agreement for $1.77 billion for security only, nothing for equipment. It includes $515 million for systemwide security (half outside the Northeast Corridor), $998 million for tunnel safety in New York, Baltimore and Washington, and $254 million for improving emergency access to Penn Station and renovating bridges in Connecticut. Hutchison expressed anger at McCain for cutting most benefits outside the Northeast Corridor, but failed to get committee approval for an amendment to rectify that.

On November 1st the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on Chairman Hollings Rail 21 Bill. McCain adamantly opposed it, as did Phil Gramm (R-TX). McCain said he saw no role for passenger trains except along the east and west coast and possibly "something out of Chicago." But Minority Leader Trent Lott said he favors a national system and would not support a service limited to the two coasts.

USDOT New Vision for Rail. Federal Railroad Administrator Allan Rutter said the U.S. Department of Transportation is working on a "new vision" for passenger rail. But he said no new funds should be appropriated before Amtrak's financial problems are solved except for $1.5 million of the $1.77 million Hollings-McCain Rail Security Act; (he rejected the emergency Penn Station access and Connecticut bridge renovations).

Meanwhile, during the last week of October the House passed an extraordinary $100 billion economic stimulus bill which would benefit some of the wealthiest corporations and individuals in America. It contained nothing for Amtrak, and very little for unemployed victims of the weakening economy who would immediately put money they received into circulation.

But House support for rail nevertheless continues to grow. There are now 188 co-sponsors of Houghton's HSRIA including 24 of New York's 31members. The latest are Charles Rangel (D), Nita Lowey (D), and Nydia Velasquez (D) who all represent New York City. New Yorkers who have not signed on include Tom Reynolds (R) of western New York and Sue Kelly (R) of Putnam County, both of whose districts are traversed by Amtrak. Other non-signers are Felix Grucci (R), Steve Israel (D), Carolyn McCarthy (D) and Gary Ackerman (D), all of Long Island, and Vito Fossella (R) of Staten Island.

As of presstime one thing is certain--interest in rail service is growing, but so far Amtrak's traditional detractors have been able to block any expansion or improvement of service. By the time you read this an Amtrak bill may have passed or been added to the Senate economic stimulus bill. If not, please immediately phone or fax your Congressional representatives and ask them to work for legislation that will improve passenger service now--not next year. Emphasize especially the HSRIA (HR-2329, S-250), Rail 21 (S-1530--Senate), Ride 21 (HR-2950--House) and the full $3 billion Amtrak security and capacity expansion package.

Frank Barry

Empire Service Manager Accepts Buyout

After six years of outstanding service to the rail passengers of New York State, J. Wesley Coates, Empire Service Product Line Manager, recently resigned, after accepting a management buyout offer from Amtrak. The buyout was part of Amtrak's overall efforts to reduce its management force by 700. During the past six years, Wes helped increase Empire Corridor ridership by over 45%, with the introduction of additional Hudson Valley trains, numerous special excursions, including the popular Buffalo Bills Express and overall improved customer service.

Wes came to Albany from New Jersey Transit. His years of experience there provided him with a wealth of knowledge in both the technical aspects of running a railroad and a broad understanding of the needs of the passengers. Wes firmly believed in running trains when the customers wanted to ride, which led to the introduction of early morning Albany departures and late evening return runs from New York City. Challenges however continued to face Wes in his efforts to further improve the service. Equipment shortages and the long overdue introduction of the rebuilt turboliners limited his ability to propose additional service increases. The inferior facilities at the existing Rensselaer Station, coupled with the delays in the opening of the new station, presented both operational and customer service difficulties.

Wes is now focusing his efforts on completing his MBA at Russell Sage College in Troy while exploring other opportunities.

ESPA sincerely thanks Wes for all his efforts on behalf of the rail passengers of New York State and wishes him all the best in his future endeavors.

ESPA helps Operation Lifesaver

Operation Lifesaver recently hosted an eight state plus Canada workshop in Lake Placid, NY. ESPA participated by helping sponsor the coffee breaks at this semi-annual conference, and was represented by ESPA Express editor Robert Lenz.Lifesaver is a national, non-profit public educational program dedicated to ending collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights-of-way. Some of the interesting workshops presented were: Engineering issues – the use of cameras to monitor grade crossing violations, wayside horns, and four-quadrant gates. Public Issues – Rails-with-trails with the ramifications and realities of pedestrians, bicycles, snowmobiles and ATVs along active rights-of-way. Enforcement issues – FRA and enforcement, use of air surveillance in trespass prevention. School Bus issues – Discussions of specific policies and laws. The attendees enjoyed an excursion on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.

To a schedule a free highway-rail safety presentation, contact the Operation Lifesaver Coordinator in your state. Certified Presenters are available to speak in school classrooms, to scout groups and community service groups, for company safety programs, and to driver education students.

Join the 2,500 volunteers across the country who have been trained to deliver Operation Lifesaver's safety message. For more information on how you can become an Operation Lifesaver Presenter, call Operation Lifesaver Inc. at 1-800-537-6224

Train to Maine Returns

Tickets went on sale on November 15 and rail passenger service is set to begin on December 15 with four trains each way daily. Trains will travel 114 miles from Boston's North Station to Portland with trains making seven intermediate stops. For now, trains will travel at a top speed of 59mph on Guilford track used north of the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border. It is hoped that parts of the Guilford line will be operating at 79mph shortly, which will save 12 minutes of travel time. Reducing the travel time by 12 minutes is seen as critical since that makes the line competitive with parallel Interstate highway 95. The passenger trains will use 78 miles of Guilford track between Plaistow, NH, and Portland, which was rehabilitated in a $62 million project. Amtrak and the rail authority have argued with Guilford that the track is safe enough to run at 79mph, since trains run at these speeds on similar track conditions in other parts of the country. The eight daily passenger trains will be joined by the existing twelve freight trains a day that use the mostly single-track line.

Tickets from Portland to Boston will be $21 each way and a same day round trip will cost $35. A monthly commuter ticket with unlimited trips between Portland and Boston will cost $336. A Ten Trip will be $170 ($17 per trip if 10 one way trips within 45 days). The schedule will include four trains in each direction each day with station stops at Old Orchard Beach, Saco, Wells, Dover, Durham, Exeter, and Haverhill with an end-to-end 2 hour 45 minute schedule. The tentative schedule is as follows: first train to leave Portland at 6:05am daily and arrive at Boston's North Station at 8:50am. Other trains will leave Portland at 8:45am, 2pm and 4:20pm daily. The first northbound train will leave Boston at 9:45am daily, arriving in Portland at 12:30pm. Other trains will leave Boston at Noon, 6:15pm and 11pm daily.

Three trainsets will provide the service. Each trainset will be powered by an Amtrak P42 locomotive, with a consist of three coaches, a café car, and a converted F40 cab/baggage car for bi-directional operation. All coaches will be Concept 2000 Metroliner coaches that were updated and modernized between 1994 and 1997. Guilford predecessor Boston & Maine last operated passenger service between Boston and Portland in 1965. A special inaugural train will run from Boston to Portland on December 14, making whistle stops at each station along the way. Projected ridership is 1000 passengers per day (365,000 per year), which is an average of 125 passengers per train.

Gary Prophet

New Turboliners Still Delayed

The very long delayed, rebuilt Turboliners are still not available for revenue service as of November 1. The first and second of the new RTL-III trainsets, while essentially complete, are still at Supersteel having a number of 'punch list' items addressed. Sets 3 – 6 are in various stages of progress at Supersteel, while set 7, the currently operating RTL-II remains in daily revenue service.

NYSDOT officials still are calling for revenue service with set 1 and/or 2 by the end of the 2001, but as neither set is yet available for final testing and acceptance, these plans now seem overly optimistic. ESPA continues to strongly urge NYSDOT to put increased pressure on Supersteel to speed up the rebuilding process. Lest we forget, set one was initially released from Supersteel in August 2000! Now 15 months later, actual revenue service is still perhaps months away.

Bruce Becker

Satisfaction Guarantee a Success

It's been just a year since Amtrak changed the face of travel by offering the industry's first unconditional satisfaction guarantee. The evidence is overwhelming that the program has been a success. Ticket sales have risen dramatically, with guaranteed service surely a key factor in that increase. And guests coming back to use guarantee vouchers are booking even more travel than they originally bought.

Plus, thanks to the new customer service database used to fulfill voucher requests, we now have an enormous amount of information about where we need improvement. It's what Anne Hoey, vice president of Service Operations, first described as "turning up the pressure in the hose, so we can see where the leaks are." But there have been disappointments, too. On-Time performance is still a challenge, as are consistently "Right an Ready" trains. And the "Service Success" goals needed to trigger incentives for all employees has yet to be reached – although we remain close.


Amtrak's Automated Reservation System – Speech Recognition

Since last year, Amtrak's Telephone Team has made significant technology enhancements to the system, which is commonly referred to as the VRU or Voice Response Unit. The goal is to replace the entire touch-tone VRU with speech recognition technology by February 2002.

The first part of this multi-phase project, focusing on train status, has been launched successfully. As of Oct. 1, most callers to 1-800-USA-RAIl who choose the automated option for train arrival and departure status are greeted by a friendly voice that walks them through the process of getting information. This improvement in the VRU's call handling rate translates into a reduction in the time sales agents spend on routine arrival and departure inquiries. It allows the sales agents to focus more on other revenue producing activities. This is a great example of technology partnering with agents – not replacing them.


***Annual Meeting - Save the Date ***

March 2, 2002 is the date of ESPA's annual meeting. This year it will be held at the historic Mohawk Club in Schenectady. See next issue for full details

Downstate ESPA

ESPA continues to meet monthly at our new location at 104 Washington St. (near Rector St.) in Lower Manhattan, on the third Tuesday of each month 6 – 8 pm. in the conference room. For information call George Haikalis, Manhattan Coordinator 212-475-3394 or e-mail at

Schedule Changes

Amtrak's Empire Corridor had no schedule changes on either September 30, or October 28. Schedules may change in early December.

On the Northeast Corridor on September 30, two additional Acela Express roundtrip trains were added between Boston and New York, bringing the weekday service to eight roundtrips a day. Two roundtrips were also added between New York and Washington, bringing the total to 10 roundtrips a day. Also, all "Northeast Direct" trains were renamed "Acela Regional" trains, but not all of the trains have the refurbished equipment that was supposed to be part of the Acela Regional trains. Also, starting on October 21, some Amtrak trains stop at the new Newark Airport station, which connects with the airport monorail. New Jersey Transit trains also stop at this new station.

Few changes occurred with the revised October 28 Amtrak National Timetable. The most notable is that 2 hours and 15 minutes of travel time has been added to the southbound Texas Eagle, all between St. Louis and San Antonio.However on the positive side, the crescent (New York-New Orleans) and the Cardinal (Washington-Chicago) schedules are shortened by 45-60 minutes ans even the Lake Shore Limited is now scheduled 20-30 minutes faster between New York ans Chicago. Minor time adjustments were made to several other trains. Schedules may change in early December.

Metro-North Schedules changed on October 28. On the Hudson Line, Dobbs Ferry and Hastings will have additional service on weekends, as four existing express trains will now stop at these 2 stations. Also, Marble Hill has been added as a station on nearly all weekend express trains between the West Bronx and the upper Hudson line stations. And, the Beacon station satellite Park & Ride opened on October 29, as a result weekdays Metro-North now operates a new non-stop shuttle bus between Dutchess Stadium (on Route 9D, just north of Route 84) and the Beacon train station, to serve commuters. The shuttle is free through at least November 30 and the Park 'N Park has 100 parking spaces, with expansion possible.

Gary Prophet

Station Update…

Rensselaer Station Parking Garage Opens

Progress is slowly being made towards the Spring 2002 opening of the new Rensselaer Amtrak Station. The adjacent 500 spot-parking garage opened for business on Monday, October 22. Initially, parking rates for the garage will be $5.00 per day or $20.00 a week. All the other current open lots will remain free at least for the immediate future. The garage provides badly needed additional parking capacity at the station, particularly with the upcoming winter weather. The current 800 spots are often filled during the peak mid-week days. According to Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) officials, after the new station opens next year, plans are to adopt a variable, time based, rate structure for the garage and a lower fixed rate for the majority of the existing open lots. They plan to retain approximately 200 spots at the far north end of the open lots for free parking. In a recent meeting with CDTA, ESPA stressed the need for a larger number of long-term free parking spots, allowing travelers a range of options.

The station building itself is now virtually finished and has recently been the location for a number of civic events. However, the extensive track and signal work required for the station to open have just begun. It is hoped that significant progress can be made before the onset of winter. The construction of the boarding platforms and overhead walkway has not yet started as of the first week in November.

Bruce B. Becker

Niagara Falls

A Concept Design Report for the Niagara Falls Intermodal Transportation station has recently been completed by Wendal Duchscherer Architects & Engineers. The proposed station would be located adjacent to the border crossing at the Whirlpool-Rapids Bridge, and includes renovation of the existing two-story 9,000 square feet historic Customs House, and construction of a new 14,000 two-story Amtrak passenger station. The two buildings would be connected by an atrium.

The proposal suggests an "Underground Railroad Interpretive Center", fast food restaurant, retail spaces, police sub-station, community space, among others.

The first phase of the $2.4 million Rome station project is scheduled for completion by year's end. Trackside improvements include: a raised (but not high-level) platform that will eliminate the need for a step stool to access trains, construction of a modern shelter, and new lighting.


Amtrak Station Revitalization Study is currently underway. The purpose of the study is to position the greater Rochester area for arrival of high-speed rail through the functional and aesthetic redesign of the Rochester Amtrak Station and by identifying strategies to ensure its full integration the downtown Rochester community and transportation system. Any ESPA member wishing to offer suggestions may send their comments to ESPA 10529 Main St, Clarence N 14031

New York City Subways - after Sept 11

The collapse of the World Trade Center towers has impacted subway service in lower Manhattan. Within two weeks, most stations and subway lines were re-opened, after tunnels were inspected and debris was cleared from the station and tracks. The "N/R" line was re-opened on October 28, with the exception of the Cortlandt Street station, which would provide access to the secured area of Ground Zero and thus that station remains closed. The "E" line now ends at Canal Street, where it turns and proceeds back uptown. Before September 11, the "E" line ended in the World Trade Center, where it turned. The "1/9" line suffered the most damage of any of the subway lines. The "1/9" was in a tunnel directly under the World Trade Center complex and a portion of the tunnel has collapsed. This has cut off service to Cortlandt, Rector, and South Ferry stations on that line. It has been estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars and several years to rebuild this line. It is likely this line will be rebuilt as part of the rebuilding of the World Trade Center area and thus will be a long time before service is restored. In fact, some suggest that the line be moved further west to better serve the Battery Park City and World Financial Center buildings, when this line is rebuilt between Chambers Street and South Ferry. Since the South Ferry station is part of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, the ability for passengers to transfer easily to/from the subway system from the ferry has been eliminated for several years to come.

Due to the location of switches and turnaround loops on the 1/9 line and 2/3 express line (which shares the same tunnel north of Chambers Street), the resulting operation has reduced the number of trains possible to be run on this line south of 14th Street. This has resulted in a lower passenger capacity on this line south of Penn Station to lower Manhattan, which has caused this line to be very crowded. Passengers from Penn Station to lower Manhattan are advised to take the "A" or "C" line from Penn Station instead. The PATH tunnels from New Jersey to the World Trade Center will be not used for several years. This has resulted in a 44% increase in New Jersey Transit rail passengers arriving in Penn Station, which makes the subways even more crowded around Penn Station. Also, the PATH station from New Jersey at 33rd and Broadway (2 blocks from Penn Station) has also seen a large increase in the number of passengers using that station.

Gary Prophet

Border Crossing Delays

Although automobiles crossing the border in northern New York and at Niagara Falls have come under increased delays relating to heightened security, Amtrak is actually having fewer delays at the border. Amtrak passengers have usually been questioned and searched at a higher percentage than either car or bus passengers, but now car and bus passengers are questioned and searched at a level that Amtrak passengers have regularly incurred in the past. Also, Amtrak's new policy earlier this year of collecting citizenship, birth place, and birth date information from each passenger at the time a reservation is made, has helped to avoid delays at the border.

Bruce Becker

PATH's Heroic Efforts

While the world was glued to the televised tragedy that was occurring above ground on September 11 at the World Trade Center (WTC) site in lower Manhattan and the heroism performed by the uniformed services, passersby and WTC employees, an equally heroic effort was underway underground far away from the general public's view.

For the Port Authority (PA) Trans Hudson (TH) Railroad, otherwise known as PATH, was engaged in an extraordinary effort that was to save the lives of over 5000 of its riders on that fateful morning. On a normal day the downtown line between Newark and the WTC carried about 120,000 riders qualifying it as the busiest of the trans-Hudson River rail crossings.

It was about 8:45 a.m. when PATH trainmaster Richie Moran, located in the Journal Square Transportation Center in Jersey City, heard a police scanner call out that an explosion had occurred at the WTC. Several other reports rapidly confirmed the burning building. Two minutes later PATH's incident clock was activated and at 8:52 a.m. Deputy Director Victoria Kelly called Moran to stop any additional passenger off loadings at the underground WTC station.

At that time two trains were entering the station, one an eight-car train from Hoboken and the other a seven-car formation from Hoboken. Under packed rush hour conditions, each car could accommodate about 125 passengers. These riders, and others still on the platform, up to 3000 by one account, were quickly escorted up the two levels of escalators to the buildings' exits. From what can be gleaned from reports, one of these trains returned to New Jersey with PATH employees and anyone else on the platform and the other was taken out of service. More on this train later.

A third train approached the WTC at about 9:00 a.m. and Moran ordered the crew not to stop and not to open the doors. This train looped the station, returned to Exchange Place and was rerouted through the Pavonia Station to the midtown Manhattan terminus at 33rd Street. a rescue train with just a motorman and conductor arrived at 9:10 a.m., seven minutes after the second plane impacted 2 WTC, and took about a dozen PATH workers and one homeless individual back to Newark, departing at 9:12 a.m. Three other eastbound trains were poised to enter the south tube to the WTC at Exchange Place but were rerouted. No riders or employees were left in the WTC station but one train, the one that had been marked out of service, remained. Subsequent entry into the station remains confirmed that three of the seven cars were crushed but remarkably most of the concourse level is still intact.

PATH estimated that under normal operating procedures, in the eleven minute interval from when Ms. Kelly ordered passenger discharges to cease to the time of the second impact, about three to five trains would have arrived with 800 to 1000 passengers aboard each of them, so a maximum of 5000 customers were estimated to have been saved from the horror and devastation at the WTC site. No direct casualties, neither customers nor employees, have been reported as of this writing.

PATH Director and General Manager Mike DePallo was quoted as saying, "Our folks did a great job. I hate to think of what might have happened if everybody wasn't on top of it."

Al Papp

revised 30 November 2001


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