Maybe someone can enlighten me. How is it that one pole getting knocked down can disable 90-odd miles of multi-track traction power, and also knock out the signal system? I can't imagine that the Pennsy designed such a fragile system. Has Amtrak screwed it up?
I would suspect that the problem was "user error," so to speak, where Amtrak managers preemptively canceled service instead of trying to run as many trains as possible, kind of like when they preemptively canceled Keystone service days in advance of what turned out to be a minor storm.
In a small example, on Monday afternoon there was apparently a fire that broke out in a piece of work equipment on the NEC near Trenton. (I found this out from Railway Age, not Amtrak.) I was at NYP awaiting a Keystone train. On the departure board, numerous NJT and Amtrak trains were posted as delayed and several NJT trains were posted as canceled. No announcements about the cause were posted. I did however get several contradictory emails from Amtrak. One talked about delay. One said the train was canceled. One said the train would end in Philadelphia and I could get the next train to Harrisburg. I went to the customer service and the clerk said she heard there was a fire somewhere.
About an hour and a half late they posted my train. I boarded and asked the AC in my car what was going on. He said, "Well, this train is officially canceled." I showed him my email about PHL being the end point of the train. He said he would try to clarify and went away. He came back and said he couldn't find out but he suspected the train would continue to Harrisburg.
He was right. The train got a little later but made it to Harrisburg. Incidentally, the status screen in the Amtrak app said that the train had arrived in Harrisburg at the time we were actually near Paoli.
I don't know what to make of all this, plus the recent screwups with the Pennsylvanian. Paranoid minds might wonder if Mr Anderson is trying to do in Amtrak by showing that it can't manage the most ordinary railroad problems. Or, are various layers of Amtrak management so demoralized and/or incompetent that they have given up trying to run the railroad?
A.J. Cassatt must be spinning like a top in his grave, considering the depths to which his Broad Way has sunk.