Published: Sun, April 30, 2017
National | By Miranda Cannon

Train delays likely this summer over work at Penn Station

Train delays likely this summer over work at Penn Station

Santoro couldn't say how the upcoming work by Amtrak would affect NJ Transit, which runs 350 trains in and out of Penn Station daily, and whether delays would be sustained equally by both agencies.

In this April 6, 2017 photo provided by Amtrak, Amtrak President and CEO Wick Moorman, right, and Amtrak Deputy General Manager Steve Young assess the tracks at New York's Penn Station.

Amtrak had originally planned to fix and replace infrastructure at Penn Station on weekends over the course of two to three years, its president and CEO Wick Moorman said Thursday.

The project follows a string of major service disruptions originating at Penn in recent weeks, including two train derailments in 10 days.

"It's good to see Amtrak is finally beginning to make the long-ignored repairs to infrastructure at New York Penn Station and throughout the Northeast Corridor", a spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie said.

The events of the past month have shown that "we have to step up our game", he added.

Nor could Moorman say how Amtrak would manage during the next decade with what officials described as maxed-out capacity at Penn Station, until a new tunnel under the Hudson River could be built.

Amtrak announced Thursday that it will pursue an "aggressive" improvement initiative for the station. "We need to get in and accelerate a renewable program that was schedule to take place over another two or three years". The April derailment caused disruptions for almost an entire week.

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Amtrak officials have been mulling different solutions to these problems, and according to the New York Times, the organization seems to be taking a page from the MTA's playbook.

In all, New Jersey Transit faces 67 citations reported over two years that have yet to be settled, as railroads typically litigate them for years.

"The whole goal of my talking about this from the beginning was to hold them to account to do the things they're doing", Christie said yesterday.

"Weekend work is not enough to get the most complex work done, and we've made the decision that the prudent thing to do is to get this done more quickly", Moorman said. "So that ballet between the three railroads and the location of the track being taken out of service is going to impact how much service we can provide".

"I don't think it says very much about the New Jersey congressional delegation, the NY congressional delegation - both sides of the aisle, it's not a partisan comment - that we've been going on decades of being underfunded", Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) said.

Funding for Gateway, considered one of the most important infrastructure projects in the country, now hangs in the balance as the White House considers a budget proposal that would strip money from one of its major contributors.

Additionally, Amtrak is creating a mobile response team to address potential station overcrowding during peak periods, further equipping its New York Division Amtrak Police Department (APD) officers with multi-band interoperable radios to improve intra-agency communication and is already in the process of updating its Video Surveillance and Access Control System design for Penn Station platforms, tunnels and ventilation shafts.

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