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UPDATE: Westfield Bound Train Diverts, Police Deem Bomb Threat Unfounded

A passenger reported what he thought was a bomb threat, which ended up being a false alarm.

Update 5:12 p.m.

A reported bomb threat on a New Jersey Transit train headed toward Westfield Thursday afternoon was "completely unfounded," said  NJ Transit Spokeswoman Courtney Carroll.

A passenger on the train heard someone making what he believed to be a bomb threat and informed the conductor, Carroll said. The train was diverted to Cranford to be searched by police. New Jersey Transit Police and Cranford Police responded to the scene and searched the train but did not find anything, Carroll said.

The train resumed its schedule at 4 p.m. and was running about 40 minutes late as of 5 p.m.
Patch freelancer and Westfield resident Joseph Leopold was on board the Westfield bound train when it stopped in Cranford. The train doors did not open and a conductor's announcement said the train was being held for police activity, Leopold said.

Shortly after that announcement, police boarded and surrounded the train. Police told passengers a bag was left on the train that "may or may not contain an explosive device," Leopold said.

A bomb-sniffing dog was brought onto the train and no passengers were allowed to leave. Leopold said he saw one man try to leave the train and was tackled by police.

Leopold said some passengers were "begging" to be let off the train if a bomb was on board and many called their relatives who responded to the train's platform. Some passengers and their family members outside on the platform were crying, Leopold said.

Passengers were held on the train for about 15 minutes until police deemed the bomb threat unfounded. They were then let off and the train continued on its course by 4 p.m.

Original Story

A New Jersey Transit Train was diverted to Cranford shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday after a bomb threat was reported on the train, said Westfield Police Capt. Clifford Autcher.

The train was traveling westbound toward Westfield on the Raritan Valley Line.

NJ Transit Police and Cranford Police are on the scene. Police say passengers were evacuated once the train diverted to Cranford.

Robie Wood May 27, 2011 at 12:07 PM
I'm sorry but shouldn't the first priority have been to remove everyone from the train?
John Loconsolo May 27, 2011 at 05:37 PM
Not if they thought that the bag's owner might be on the train.
Jennifer Hunt May 28, 2011 at 12:07 PM
I understand that the police wouldn't want anyone to release passengers in the event the bomber was still on the train, but safety of the majority should be the priority. To think of people begging and crying to be let off a train they believe might be bombed is just heartbreaking! I really don't get it!
NJD July 13, 2011 at 05:47 PM
The safety of the people on the train should have been top priority. How do the police leave all those people on the train with what they believe could be a bomb about to detonate?!! That is truly one of the most irresponsible asinine actions I've ever heard of. So everyone gets injured or worse and they still don't figure out who left the bomb there anyway. Brilliant.
Daniel July 17, 2011 at 06:09 PM
My kindergarten teacher made this policy: "noone can go home until we find out who threw that eraser". It's inexcusable how Cranford & NJT police forced passengers into perceived harms way for 45 mins. There were plenty of police to safely evacuate everyone. The one passenger who left the train was doing what ALL passengers should have been allowed to do- move to safely. Luckily the Cranford municipal court agreed and dropped all charges against the passenger this week. Unfortunately noone is having NJT get its act together when dealing with a bomb.


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