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Passengers wait for shuttle buses after a rock slide took out tracks between Garrison and Peekskill in New York on Saturday, July 19, 2014. / Frank Becerra Jr., The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News

GARRISON, N.Y. - A rock slide onto Metro-North Railroad tracks in New York suspended all service on the nation's second-largest commuter rail system, stranding hundreds of passengers Saturday afternoon, officials said.

The rock slide occurred north of New York City between Peekskill and Garrison, in an area difficult to access, forcing crews to use all-terrain vehicles to get to the damage.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority police Lt. Ray Skopin said crews were doing retaining wall work by the Westchester County border when rocks spilled onto the tracks and blocked all train traffic. No trains were hit and no passengers injured in the rock slide, Skopin said.

The incident occurred about 4:30 p.m. ET, but because the area was hard to access, rail crews were expected to work through the evening to clear the rock slide, Skopin said. He could not estimate when train service would be restored.

Hundreds of passengers were left at the Garrison train station waiting for shuttle buses to take them to Peekskill, where trains were operating.

Paul Thal said when the Amtrak train he was riding in pulled into Beacon, there was much confusion. Announcers said a rock slide had damaged tracks ahead of them and that delays would follow.

"Eventually, they told us we could wait two hours or take Metro-North here and then take a bus," he said.

At 7 p.m., he was still waiting in the parking lot of the Garrison train station for his bus, his shoulders weighed down by a large backpack.

A few dozen places behind him in line, Tifrock Levi kept an eye on her 6-year-old son as he darted between parked cars.

"It's a little slow, but it's OK," she said. "They've been very helpful with water. It's not that bad."

Levi said she still expected to reach her destination, Philadelphia, before midnight.

Behind her, the line of passengers hoping for a seat on a bus to Peekskill stretched nearly the entire length of the parking lot.

Emergency responders walked up and down the line, offering bottles of water and asking about medical conditions.

The rock slide is the latest headache for a railroad recovering from two major accidents and myriad service disruptions.

In December, a Metro-North Hudson Line train derailed in the Bronx, killing four passengers and injuring more than 70 others.

In May 2013, a train heading east from New York City to New Haven derailed and was hit by a westbound train outside Bridgeport, injuring scores of passengers.

This spring a retaining wall collapsed near the Glenwood station, causing a mudslide that buried a northbound track in mud, soil and other debris. The incident knocked out two of four tracks, leading to speed restrictions and residual delays

Contributing: The Associated Press



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Rock slide suspends Metro-North rail service

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