NJ forecasts nightmare train strike scenario

Commuters at NY Penn Station attentively watch the Big Board to see which track their trains will be leaving during the evening rush home.
Denise Panyik-Dale | Getty Images

Tens of thousands of New Jersey residents who work in New York City would not be able to get to their jobs if NJ Transit workers go on strike later this month, the system's leadership warned Thursday.

With the clock ticking on the transit authority's negotiations with its unions, officials outlined their contingency scenario — one that leaves the majority of riders with no way to get across the Hudson River.

It would also create the prospect of mass gridlock on the region's already crowded roads, with thousands of extra cars per hour trying to get across narrow bridges and tunnels.

A sign for New Jersey Transit at Pennsylvania Station in New York.
Could a rail strike paralyze the NYC commute?

In a news conference Thursday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addressed the potential strike saying that he is monitoring the negotiations very closely and hopes to be able to bring them to a positive resolution without a strike.

"My first priority is the commuters in the state of New Jersey who use New Jersey Transit rail every day. So, we're going to work hard to do that, but I'm not going to give away the store in the process," he said.

However, Christie added that in order to give NJ Transit workers the wage increases, among other things, that they asked for, the money will have to come out of taxpayer pockets.

"What they need to understand, the commuters, is that the money is going to come from them. Any money I spend doesn't come from some magic place. It comes from them, either in fares, in taxes or a combination of both," Christie said. "So I represent them at the table and that's what I'm going to do."

Read the transit agency's point-by-point tweets on the strike's impacts and its backup plans below: