Penn Station briefly evacuated because of suspicious duffel bag

Bag later found to only contain trash; supended all train service


Pennsylvania Station was briefly evacuated Monday morning and all train service was suspended because a suspicious bag was found amid the city's extra-vigilant security surrounding the Sept. 11 anniversary.

Police said a duffel bag later found to be containing trash was discovered in a retail area occupied by Amtrak, said railroad spokesman Cliff Black.

All trains - Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit - were affected, Black said. The evacuation began at 8:25 a.m. and was declared "all clear" at 8:39 a.m., he said. Officials determined the bag contained personal items.

The incident occurred minutes before the ceremony commemorating the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center at ground zero in lower Manhattan and as President Bush was visiting a New York City firehouse whose members were among the first responders when the twin towers were attacked.

Long Island Rail Road passenger Michael Giossi, 26, was on his way home to Farmingdale when the station was evacuated.

"The president's in town. The day - I would say a lot has to do with the day," Giossi said of the evacuation.

Another LIRR passenger, Ben Berliner, 29, said he wasn't nervous or worried because he saw a large presence of police and National Guardsmen.

"Heavy protection. It's good," he said.