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First day "Summer of Hell" Commute

First day

About 7,400 NJ Transit riders on the Morris & Essex line will be forced to transfer in Hoboken weekdays after 7 a.m. instead being taken directly to Midtown Manhattan.

Sean Cribbin, 27, who works in asset management, said he was grateful that he lived and worked in New Jersey most of the time and so could avoid the commuter life.

Earlier this morning on New York's subway system, signal problems led to delays for the northbound 2 and 5 trains and southbound A, C and E trains.

Track and signal work at Penn in July and August will curtail operations for Amtrak and its tenants, the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit commuter lines.

After several recent train derailments, major track repairs at Penn Station are scheduled for the next two months.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned as early as May that the fix work would spell a "summer of hell for commuters".

Train service reductions and schedule changes will force travelers from New Jersey and Long Island to find alternative routes into the city, including buses, ferries and cars.

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The appalling commuting conditions have stoked criticism of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for canceling a new Hudson River rail tunnel project soon after taking office in 2010, saying the cost to his state was too high. The 35-year-old says everybody's just bumping into each other, pushing each other to get to their destination.

Despite a little crowding on some trains, most NJ TRANSIT riders arriving at Penn Station had no complaints about the morning commute.

Service has been stepped up by trains, buses and ferries in anticipation of the busier commute.

And if you're one of those commuters, you also know that things were not ideal before today's track repairs began.

Penn Station's woes sunk to a new low in May when dirty water, widely reported to have been sewage, gushed from the ceiling.

NJ Transit is diverting some rush hour trains to Hoboken, where passengers can switch to PATH trains or ferries.

Still, the real test for the "new normal" won't come until the weather, equipment problems or police activity somewhere along the train line interrupts service. Extensive disruptions are expected for both New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road commuters.

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