The collision of two commuter trains in Connecticut Friday evening left rail traffic in the busy Northeast Corridor at an indefinite standstill today, causing delays and headaches for travelers headed south from Boston.
At South Station, where Amtrak trains depart for New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., passengers were instead booking bus tickets.
“We looked at the board, and the board said ‘cancelled, cancelled, cancelled,’ ” said Cambridge resident Ted Hansen, who had planned to catch a train to New York with his wife. “We don’t like to fly [because] it’s such a pain. So we said we’ll take the bus, even though it’s less .... refined.”
The rush hour collision, which occurred when a Metro-North Railroad train traveling through Bridgeport derailed and was struck by a train traveling on an adjacent track, injured at least 60 people, including five critically, authorities said at a press conference Friday night.
Amtrak and the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which operates the Metro-North Railroad, said train service through the corridor would be suspended until further notice while the National Transportation Safety Board investigates the cause of the accident.
In a press release, Amtrak said that there is currently no time estimate for the resumption of service, but that trains would run on a “limited” basis between Boston and New Haven, Conn., and on a regular schedule between New York and Washington, D.C.
An update on the restoration of service is expected by Sunday evening, the railroad company said.
Helga Jorgensen of Hingham came to South Station expecting a “wonderful, leisurely trip to New York” for a family reunion. Instead, she arrived to find her train had been cancelled, making it unlikely she would arrive in Manhattan by 4 p.m. as she originally planned.
Jorgensen said she was upset by a lack of customer service, as Amtrak employees were unable to help her make alternate arrangements by plane or bus.
“They’re all booked and filled, and nobody was helpful,” she said.
A spokesman for Greyhound Lines, a major intercity bus company operating out of South Station, said the company had not yet seen a major uptick in reservations, but was ready to assist displaced rail passengers.
Somerville resident Stephanie Huang, who was waiting in South Station’s bus terminal, said she got email and phone alerts at 11 p.m. Friday saying the train she planned to take to her sister’s medical school convocation this weekend had been cancelled.
Instead, Huang bought a Bolt Bus ticket online; there were still plenty of open seats, and the prices were reasonable, she said. Huang said was scheduled to get into New York about an hour later than she originally planned, but that overall it was not much of an ordeal.
“I’m probably like, the least stressed out person about this,” Huang said, calmly waiting in the terminal.Dan Adams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter at @DanielAdams86. Gal Tziperman Lotan can be reached at email@example.com.