New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean: Crumbling Hudson Rail Tunnels a Tragedy Waiting to Happen

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said the crumbling trans-Hudson rail tunnels are a tragedy waiting to happen after a piece of metal pierced the roof of a New Jersey Transit train this weekend.

Sen. Tom Kean said the crumbling trans-Hudson rail tunnels are a tragedy waiting to happen after a piece of metal pierced the roof of a NJ Transit train this weekend. (SenateNJ.com)

“It was pure luck that this didn’t happen during rush hour when commuters would have been standing where the damage occurred,” said Kean. “Looking at the pictures, it’s clear that somebody could have been killed. The poor state of the Hudson tunnels and our rail infrastructure in general is a tragedy waiting to happen.”

As a member of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, Kean has pushed New Jersey Transit to address maintenance and staffing issues that impact the safety and reliability of the region’s rail service.

He said the exact point of failure in this recent incident must be identified to guarantee passenger safety going forward.

“We need to know if this was a failure of equipment on the New Jersey Transit train or of the infrastructure of the tunnel which is operated by Amtrak,” said Kean. “It’s imperative that such a determination be made quickly and properly addressed to ensure that passengers are safe when they pass through the tunnels.”

Kean said that while immediate repairs are important, the construction of new tunnels to replace the century old tubes is the only real long-term solution.

“We have a combination of age-related wear and tear and damage from Sandy that’s causing more and more problems for commuters,” Kean added. “We’re at the point that a single stalled train can impact the entire system and disrupt the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. When that happens, there’s no Plan B. The federal government must recognize the national importance of building new tunnels and step up with the funding that’s needed to move the Gateway Project along.”

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