Published: Sun, April 30, 2017
Local | By Adrian Hale

Amtrak accelerating Penn Station work, rail delays expected

Amtrak accelerating Penn Station work, rail delays expected

He declined several times to say how many or which tracks the repairs would affect, noting the agency would have more specifics following its meeting with NJ Transit and Long Island Rail Road officials next week.

NJT Executive Director Steven Santoro told the New Jersey Legislature that Amtrak showed him a plan to tackle the repairs this summer, and they involve possibly dropping the number of NJ Transit trains from 63 during morning rush hours to 30 or even just 25 on some days. Amtrak head Charles Moorman confirmed that some tracks leading in and out of Penn Station will be closed this summer for repairs, including on busy weekdays. In the wake of the Penn Station derailments in March and April, Christie said Amtrak was failing on maintenance, and he promised to withhold as much as 5mn in monthly payments.

Disruptions from the track work are a big inconvenience for thousands of New Jersey commuters, said state Sen.

Santoro and Amtrak spoke to News 4 Friday before testifying.

Moorman said Amtrak would meet with officials from the LIRR and NJ Transit over the next week to work out details of the project and its effect on rail customers. Don't forget installation of Positive Train Control (which is already several years behind schedule and increasing in cost), along with system-wide annual State of Good Repair projects and programs. The April derailment caused disruptions for almost an entire week.

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.

That damage will eventually force Amtrak to close one, if not both, of the current tubes under the Hudson River, Moorman said.

"The whole objective of my talking about this from the beginning was to hold them to account to do the things they're doing", Christie said yesterday. "Commutes are never fun at the best of times and when they are lengthened for any reason - and particularly when those reasons have to do with Amtrak - we understand that, we apologize for that". "In light of serious issues surrounding Penn Station. and its failing infrastructure, Long Island commuters have faced unprecedented hardship that must be addressed", Kaminsky wrote.

"Everyone needs to understand that the railroad is not, and frankly for a long time has never been, in a true state of good fix, meaning that numerous assets that make up our infrastructure are now past the point where they would normally be replaced", Moorman said.

'It was clear to me that we needed to do a deep dive and look at the instructions we were providing our crews, Robert Lavell, vice-president and general manager of rail operations, wrote in a September 21, 2016, letter to Janet Lee, a deputy regional administrator for the federal railroad agency.

"First, I want to thank you for your continued patience and understanding during the recent and ongoing delays to your train service, especially traveling in and out of Penn Station New York".

Moorman said on Thursday that he does not anticipate any "substantial reduction in funding" at the end of the federal budgeting process for next year.

"Penn Station is so important to the economy in North Jersey", Sarlo said.

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