Thousands of fans exiting Metlife Stadium after Wrestlemannia 35 in the early hours of April 8 found themselves stranded in the Meadowlands because of a lack of trains.
The event, which has been dubbed “The Super Bowl of Professional Wrestling” drew more than 82,000 spectators.
Organizers of the massive entertainment event apparently had originally notified NJ Transit that the event would end at about 10 p.m. and at the last moment informed transportation officials that the show would go on until after midnight.
This resulted in a shortage of trains, leaving many fans standing in the rain for hours waiting to get home.
NJ Transit had only three trains available later, when six trains were available earlier in the evening.
Cancelled trains have been an issue for several years, partly due a shortage of engineers. This is partly due to federal regulations that do not allow engineers to work overtime, an outgrowth of several train crashes in the region blamed on sleep-deprivation. This was a contributing factor in the 2016 crash at the Hoboken Terminal.
NJ Transit officials are quoted in several news outlets saying because they cannot increase the hours engineers work, they must provide more trains with fresh engineers. These engineers weren’t available.
Late last year, Gov. Phil Murphy in an appearance in Jersey City, said he had pushed NJ Transit to expand training, and in fact, managed to get new classes for train engineers for the first time in years.
But Murphy was critical of NJ Transit’s inability to inform the stranded riders about what was transpiring, leaving many people frustrated.
Murphy vowed this would not occur again.
The Meadowlands Sports Complex has also been an issue in the past. While serviced by buses, the area was once considered a possible destination for the Hudson Bergen Light Rail – as a possible of an extension from its terminus in North Bergen.
Currently, some legislators would like to include that area in the Gateway project which would connect some of the hard rail Bergen County rail lines with the Northeast Corridor, allowing more options for bringing people to and from the complex.
There is already a model which might be followed since Secaucus Exchange, located in the southern portion of Secaucus, provides similar connections.
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