(Bloomberg) -- Amtrak and New Jersey Transit rail services suffered significant delays yet again this week, after an overhead power issue led to even more disruptions for commuters traveling in and out of New York City. 

Friday’s transit mess caps off an especially bad week for riders who had to contend with delays that stretched for hours on Tuesday and suspended service on Thursday after wire issues and a brush fire led to power outages on tracks in New Jersey. 

The issues come as near-record breaking heat engulfs much of the US East Coast, pressuring infrastructure. High temperatures can cause rail, bridges and overhead wires to expand, which can lead to service delays or suspensions. 

New Brunswick, New Jersey, serving both Amtrak and NJ Transit trains on the Northeast Corridor, is forecast to reach 96F, one below a record for the date set in 2012, the National Weather Service said.

“We have rails that ice over, we have wires that are melting, and we know that extreme weather is only going to become more common,” said Alex Ambrose, an analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective, a think-tank. “These delays and cancellations should really serve as a wake up call to our state legislators in New Jersey that we need to be doing everything we can to make sure riders get the best service possible.”

Because the Northeast Corridor is the most congested rail segment in the country, any service disruption has ripple effects. Roughly 500,000 passengers pass through Manhattan’s Penn Station every day on more than 1,000 Amtrak, NJ Transit and Long Island Rail Road trains. Those running under the Hudson River from New Jersey have to pass through a single, century-old tunnel connecting the two states, creating a chokepoint. 

That junction creates problems for both NJ Transit and Amtrak providers, leading to finger-pointing between the two agencies. Late last month, leadership from both organizations met to discuss how they can better work together when a disruption happens. 

Four-Hour Commute

For Stacie Zimaras, a 26-year-old splitting her time between Flushing, Queens, and at her grandparents’ house on the Jersey Shore, the commute has ballooned to as long as four hours some days, and a single Uber would put her out $200. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a week without issues,” said Zimaras who is the chief of staff at a health tech startup near Union Square in Manhattan. “There’s always been issues with New Jersey Transit. That’s been the norm for me. With the summer, even some of the conductors and workers have said it gets so crazy.”

The train disruptions also come less than two weeks before NJ Transit is set to enact a 15% fare hike on July 1 to help plug a budget shortfall due to low ridership from the pandemic. 

Late Friday afternoon, Amtrak said service had been restored at New York Penn Station after necessary infrastructure repairs had been completed, according to an announcement posted to their website. Customers traveling through New York should expect residual delays, the agency said. 

NJ Transit said rail service was operating on 30 minute delays for trains running in and out of Penn Station, citing Amtrak overhead wire issues. Amtrak owns and operates much of the track infrastructure that both agencies share.

The impacted train on Friday was inspected and cleared before leaving Newark Penn Station, said Kevin Corbett, NJ Transit’s president and chief executive officer in an emailed statement. 

While the agency continues to work with Amtrak to identify the root cause of the recent spate of incidents, Corbett noted that NJ Transit operates hundreds of trains with the same equipment and these incidents are largely occurring on one stretch of track between Newark and New York. 

“We are as frustrated as our customers,” Corbett said. “The frequency and impact these issues are having on our customers’ quality of life is beyond unacceptable.”

--With assistance from Ella Ceron, Lily Meier, Brian K. Sullivan and Mark Chediak.

(Updates story with more recent service announcements.)

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