Trains roll again in hurricane’s wake

Signs for the Hudson Amtrak Station, located at 69 S. Front St. File photo

HUDSON — Amtrak trains running from New York City to the Albany-Rensselaer area — including stops in Hudson — resumed operation Tuesday morning after torrential, wind-driven rain and flooding from Hurricane Ida halted service for several days.

Amtrak announced the return to services Tuesday after Hurricane Ida’s historic rainfall and flooding in 14 counties throughout New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley overnight last Wednesday. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Metro-North Railroad, which goes from New York City to Poughkeepsie, continues to operate on limited service.

“With thanks to MTA Metro-North Railroad south of Poughkeepsie and Amtrak engineering forces north to Rensselaer, Amtrak is restoring all scheduled service between New York City and Albany, effective Tuesday, Sept. 7,” according to a prepared statement from Amtrak on Tuesday. “Tracks along the Hudson River were temporarily closed due to damage from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.”

Trains south of the Rensselaer station were suspended the morning of Sept. 4 due to storm damage.

The storm claimed the lives of at least 18 New Yorkers who became trapped in their basements, basement apartments or vehicles. Ida has been blamed for at least 67 deaths the nation as of Tuesday afternoon.

Service on Metro-North’s Hudson Line and New Canaan and Danbury branches remained suspended due to 10 feet of mud covering the tracks.

“Work remains ongoing to bring the Hudson Line back to full service as soon as possible,” according to a statement the Metropolitan Transportation Authority posted on social media Monday afternoon. “Hudson line trains will operate half-hourly service during peak hours at all stations. Hourly off-peak service will return between Poughkeepsie and Grand Central Terminal.”

President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration Monday for the parts of New York and New Jersey hardest hit by remnants of Hurricane Ida, unlocking the Individual & Households Assistance Program.

The maximum payout for IHA is $35,000 per homeowner, but not every homeowner will be approved for the full amount.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved up to $5 million Friday in emergency evacuation and shelter assistance for Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties, which remain under a declared state of emergency.

“[U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] secretary will work with the states to make sure folks on Medicare/Medicaid get the emergency care they need, now, and we’re going to make sure the relief is equitable so that those hardest hit get what they need,” Biden said Tuesday.

Biden visited New York City and part of New Jersey on Tuesday to survey the devastation wrought by the remnants of Ida and push his hefty-priced infrastructure plans.

He was scheduled to hold a joint press conference with Gov. Kathy Hochul and update the storm cleanup around 4 p.m. Tuesday. More details were not immediately available.

Biden, who visited storm-ravaged Louisiana last week, jetted into John F. Kennedy International Airport to see firsthand the damage from torrential flooding in Queens, which was the hardest-hit borough, and the New Jersey suburbs.

Specialists deployed by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services have estimated more than $50 million in damage to public infrastructure and property.

The storm caused more than an estimated $50 million in damage to public infrastructure and property, while more than 1,200 residences suffered damage, Hochul said.

Hochul said displaced New Yorkers, including uninsured families, will be eligible for funds for housing assistance, crisis counseling, unemployment assistance, home repairs and legal services.

“I saw the devastation of New Yorkers who lost so much from this storm, and I pledged that we would do everything in our power to help them rebuild,” Hochul said Monday.

Eligible residents and business owners who sustained losses from the storm can apply for assistance by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired, according to a statement from the White House.

The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time seven days a week until further notice.

The federal government $5 million approval Friday will help ease the burden on state and local governments working to remedy closed roads, train service and severe damage.

Ida dumped between 6 and 8 inches of rain late Wednesday and overnight, sparking flash floods, widespread power outages and closing multiple roads and highways, forcing New York State Police, state Fire Police and the state Department of Environmental Conservation to rescue hundreds of drivers stranded in deep flood waters.

A record-breaking 3.15 inches of rain fell in Manhattan’s Central Park from 8:50 to 9:50 p.m. — blowing through an hourly rainfall ceiling of 1.94 inches set Aug. 21 in Mother Nature’s second significant weather event in 10 days.

For updates about Biden’s visit and more on this story, visit HudsonValley360.com

Tribune News Service contributed to this report.

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