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TMCNet:  PATH service to WTC may return by end of Nov.

[November 16, 2012]

PATH service to WTC may return by end of Nov.

Nov 16, 2012 (Asbury Park Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Port Authority officials said full PATH rail service to lower Manhattan could return by the end of the month, after damage from superstorm Sandy is repaired.

Service to the closed Christopher Street station in Manhattan will resume this weekend, said Patrick Foye, Port Authority executive director, after Thursday's board of commissioners meeting. World Trade Center service will likely resume before PATH trains return to Hoboken, he said.

Foye said crews continue to work around the clock repairing damage flood waters did to electrical systems. Some equipment up to 80 years old has to be specially manufactured to bring the system back, and parts from as far away as Chicago have been obtained from other transit agencies. Some PATH railcars damaged in the storm also have to be rebuilt, he said.

"The amount of flooding was biblical," Foye said.

Foye said PATH has enough rail cars to resume Hoboken and World Trade Center service.

Port Authority officials restored service on the 33rd Street line on Nov. 6, and expanded that service to Newark last week. Added ferry operations have been used to move PATH and displaced NJ Transit riders across the Hudson River.

PATH officials said workers have had to pump tens of millions of gallons of water from the PATH tunnels, and are still at work to restore or replace switches and signals corroded by salt water to allow safe operation of trains to Hoboken, Exchange Place and World Trade Center stations.

While cost estimates for the damage are still being calculated, the authority has insurance and expects that and federal disaster money will cover damage costs without affecting the agency's budget.

Port Authority officials also honored 50 Port Authority police officers and three civilian employees for their heroics during Hurricane Sandy at Thursday's board meeting.

The heroic actions of police resulted in more than 60 people being saved, ranging from the rescue of 23 people trapped in a flooded building in Jersey City to the rescue of 30 people trapped by rising floodwaters in the southwestern section of Hoboken.

Also honored were Port Authority tunnel and bridge agent John McColgan, tour manager Robert Swaney and toll collector Ed Strauss, who on Oct. 29 went out into the storm to search for Staten Island bridges toll collector Travis Horwath, who became stuck in rising flood waters while trying to make it home.

McColgan waded through chest-high water to rescue Horwath, once he and his colleagues saw the toll collector on the roof of his car, which was floating in the rising water.

"The word 'hero' is overused today, but to save the life of another person truly is heroic," said Michael Fedorko, Port Authority police superintendent.

The agency also dealt with flood and other damage at its airports, tunnels and bridges, Foye said, giving credit to its employees for leaving their own storm-damaged homes to repair and reopen the authority's facilities.

"The damage in lost revenue and equipment and mitigation are substantial," Foye said.

___ (c)2012 Asbury Park Press (Neptune, N.J.) Visit the Asbury Park Press (Neptune, N.J.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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