PATCO passengers stranded on the Ben Franklin Bridge

INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS

A New Jersey-bound PATCO train filled with pre-St. Patrick's Day revelers - many reportedly inebriated - became disabled on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday, stranding passengers for more than an hour.

The riders were picked up by a second train at about 7:30 p.m., said PATCO spokesman Tim Ireland. The disabled train was still was on the bridge into the late evening. The cause of the malfunction is being investigated.

"It was the impression of the police I spoke with that there were a number of well-lubricated passengers on the train," Ireland said.

Two passengers who exited the train while it was stopped on the bridge and began walking along the tracks were arrested by the Delaware River Port Authority police, Ireland said. They likely will be charged with trespassing.

Passenger Brett J. Hopkins, 31, of Fishtown, who works at the Flying Monkey Bakery at Reading Terminal and is a comic-book illustrator, was among those who were stranded.

"The train just stopped, about half-filled with people wearing green clothing that are visibly intoxicated . . . " Hopkins said. "The regular people that are on the train are taking it really well."

He and others were transferred to the second train, which returned to Philadelphia where it waited for a short time at the station at 8th and Market before heading back toward Camden.

Many passengers took to social media networks to vent their frustration while they were awaiting rescue.

PATCO, one passenger tweeted, "should take a page from airline pilots and update their passengers when they keep them on a train over the river for an hour."

 


Contact Chris Mondics at 215 854 5957 or cmondics@phillynews.com

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