One of two rail tunnels under the Hudson lost power around 9 a.m. Four New Jersey Transit trains were initially stranded but two were later removed, Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole said. There also were Amtrak delays, but none of its trains got stranded, he said.
Passengers said one New Jersey Transit train was stuck underground for nearly three hours and the second for about an hour.
John Doherty was stuck aboard the 8:15 a.m. train from Glen Ridge, N.J. His commute usually takes about 35 minutes but he arrived around 11:30 a.m.
The lights were working on the train but the air conditioning was not.
"It was hot and humid," said the attorney, who looked slightly damp and had his tie loosened. "Everybody stayed calm and nobody got too upset. A lot of jokes and just waiting."
"They kept us informed," Doherty added as he rushed off to reschedule a missed meeting. "They informed us that they had no information."
Both arriving and departing trains at New York's Penn Station were affected.
Gerry Diamond was waiting to take a train to Trenton, N.J., and then go from there to Newtown, Pa., to stay with family. A delay notice was posted for his train right about the time it was supposed to leave. He had no idea how long he would have to wait.
"They don't give you very many details. It's very inconvenient from the standpoint of people picking you up on the other end," said Diamond.
Contemplating the lack of information, he observed: "That can mean they have no idea and we could be here for a long time."