Months before Sandy, NJ Transit dismissed need for climate risk study
Only a few months before superstorm Sandy devastated hundreds of New Jersey’s commuter locomotives and railcars, state officials were confident that the state’s passenger rail fleet was well protected from extreme weather.
They were so confident, a review by The Record shows, that they decided it wasn’t even necessary to study ways to weatherproof NJ Transit’s rolling stock against unruly new climate patterns.
At a symposium of state and federal transportation officials in March, NJ Transit executive David Gillespie said he had told climate-change consultants working for the agency to skip any analysis of potential impacts on train cars and engines.
NJ Transit will have to answer how widely predicted storm tides washed over more than 300 coach cars and locomotives — some costing $10 million apiece — that were parked in low-lying rail yards in Kearny and Hoboken the agency viewed as havens against the storm.