The strengthening storm, which is now 1600km wide and moving at about 30km/h, is expected to generate wind speeds of 135km/h and storm surges along the coast. A state of emergency has been declared in 11 states and president Obama declared Hurricane Sandy as a "serious and big storm."

Amtrak has cancelled all passenger services from Albany and Boston via New York and Washington DC as far south as North Carolina and including Pennsylvania. Many of its long-distance services radiating from New York to Florida and New Orleans have also been suspended. Norfolk Southern says freight customers can expect delays of up to 72 hours from New England to Virginia.

All metro, light rail, and commuter rail services have been shut down in New York, Long Island, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Maryland and Washington DC. New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) says it began preparations for the storm several days ago by getting recovery equipment ready, clearing drains, moving rolling stock from low-lying yards and depots, and sealing some tunnel access points.

Train services are likely to remain suspended or at the very least be severely disrupted tomorrow.