by Amy Byrnes
NJ Transit has released documents indicating that millions of dollars worth of equipment damage could have been prevented if officials had followed a storm plan developed a few months before Hurricane Sandy swallowed a third of the agency's train fleet, according to a NorthJersey.com report.
The papers, released following a public records suit filed by newspaper in March, showed that commuter trains were supposed to be transferred to higher land in the event of a hurricane or severe tropical storm. Instead, NJ Transit moved 343 pieces of equipment to low-lying areas near the water, resulting in $120 million in damage.
NJ Transit officials have declined to explain or discuss why crews stored the engines and railcars in low-lying yards in Kearny and Hoboken that are near water, according to the article. The 3 1/2-page storm plan prepared in June 2012 detailed over a half dozen sites on higher ground where equipment should be moved prior to a severe storm.
Damaged equipment included 70 locomotives and 273 railcars that were flooded during Sandy’s storm surge.
Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) on Monday said she wanted to hold a special legislative hearing to examine why the transit agency didn't follow its Hurricane plan, NorthJersey.com reported.