The workweek got off to a rough start for New Jersey rail commuters recently. A disabled train blocked one of the two rail tunnels under the Hudson River to Penn Station during the Monday morning rush hour.

Thousands of people were left scrambling to find another way into Manhattan.

Frustrations like these are by no means uncommon. The rail tunnels connecting New York City to New Jersey are more than 100 years old, and they’re starting to fall apart. In July, power cable failures in the Hudson River tunnels caused massive delays for days in a row. Commutes that normally take an hour grew to two, even three hours, and high-speed train service between Washington, D.C., and New England slowed to a crawl.

“It’s the bottleneck for the entire Northeast corridor,” says Tom Wright, the president of the Regional Plan Association in New York.

Aging Tunnels Under Hudson River Threaten To Disrupt Transport, Commerce

Photo credit: Chuck Gomez/Amtrak
Caption: Amtrak workers install new electrical cable in the north tube of the Hudson River tunnels.