Taking a train to the big U2 concert tonight?
A transportation debacle resulted nearly two years ago after twice the number of expected concert-goers tried to pack NJ Transit trains for a concert of the Irish supergroup at the old Giants Stadium.
Hundreds of frustrated commuters were feeling “Vertigo” as they pressed together like canned mackerels and jostled through lines to buy tickets or board trains at Secaucus Junction. The train station can handle about 10,000 people an hour but was getting twice that amount, leading to anything but a “Beautiful Day.”
The Edge was more than just the name of the band’s guitarist — it was what commuters were on. At the end of that show on Sept. 23, 2009, it took some people two hours to board trains.
NJ Transit reported fewer problems the next night, when more people bought round-trip ticket
To accommodate expected crowds for U2’s show with Interpol 7 p.m. today at New Meadowlands Stadium, NJ Transit officials have announced a number of adjustments:
• Substituting some single-level rail trains with multilevels, increasing seating capacity by about 20 percent
• Using portable ticket vending machines to help with demand in New York and Secaucus
• Pre-printing Meadowlands sports complex tickets to expedite purchases
• Increasing the number of customer service representatives and employee volunteers to help concert-goers.
NJ Transit also sent an email alert to customers telling them to anticipate heavy travel on all trains between New York Penn Station and Secaucus and possible platform changes at Secaucus.
The concert was initially planned for a year ago, but was rescheduled due to the back surgery of U2 lead singer Bono.
The Meadowlands Rail Line connects to the Meadowlands sports complex from 11 of 12 NJ Transit rail lines, with connections at Hoboken Terminal and Secaucus.
NJ Transit officials cautioned that customers should expect crowds after the concert and might want to allow additional travel time to make connections to other rail lines.
They made these suggestions:
• Purchase round-trip tickets in advance from any NJ Transit rail ticket vending machine or ticket office. Select “Meadowlands Sports Complex” as your destination.
• Travel early. Rail service to the Meadowlands will begin at 4 p.m.
• Take note of your last train to your final destination. Signs will be posted around the station.
Customers connecting from Northeast Corridor or North Jersey Coast Line trains must use their ticket to pass through the fare gates at Secaucus Junction. Each ticket will open the fare gate one time.
Trains to the Meadowlands depart from the lower level.