It will be weeks, to months. NJ Transits rail headquarters is UNDERWATER right now, and their primary power system, backup power system, emergency back up system, AND computers have all been damaged.
Per their website:
"Rail service will remain suspended until further notice. There is currently no estimated time for resumption of service.
Rail customers are advised to seek alternate transportation because of significant storm damage.
Crews continue to inspect the rail infrastructure to get a full assessment of damage:
---->NJ TRANSIT’s Rail Operations Center—the central nervous system of the railroad—is engulfed in water, which has damaged backup power supply systems, the emergency generator, and the computer system that controls the movement of trains and power supply<-----
There are numerous downed trees across the rail system, which have caused damage to overhead wires and signal wires.
There are rail washouts across the system, including on the North Jersey Coast Line and Atlantic City Rail Line
(which means adios those services for awhile)
Several rail stations are flooded, including Hoboken Terminal.
Morgan Drawbridge on the North Jersey Coast Line in South Amboy sustained damage from boats and a trailer that collided into the bridge.
Light Rail Service:
Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, Newark Light Rail and River Line service will remain suspended until further notice. There is currently no estimated time for resumption of service.
Crews continue to inspect the light rail infrastructure to get a full assessment of damage.
Newark Light Rail sustained flooding in Newark Penn Station, as well as major debris damage between Newark Penn and Branch Brook Park stations.
Hudson-Bergen Light Rail experienced track washouts at Port Imperial and West Side Avenue stations, as well as trees in the overhead wire in Weehawken and flooding in Hoboken.
River Line sustained no significant damage to equipment or infrastructure; however, due to a loss of commercial power between Camden and Trenton, there is no power to operate the signals and switches.
I think I saw someone in the MARC forum calling the decision makers "a bunch of pussies", regarding their decision to not operate trains on Wednesday. While I haven't seen the same sentiments expressed on this forum...I would like to point out that, as this is the worst storm in modern history to impact the east coast, it is not going to be reasonable to assume a few days to get back online. This process will take a LONG time, much in the same way recoveries take when hurricanes hit the Southeastern US. Sometimes, it can take over a year. While I think things won't take that long, it could be months before full resumption of service.