Headaches for commuters at New York’s Penn Station, the busiest — and most incident-riddled of late — rail terminal in the country will continue at least through late summer.
Amtrak’s initial repair plan for Penn Station, which is also a hub for the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit, will close tracks for almost three weeks in July and nearly all of August, according to The New York Times, which obtained a copy of the plan.
Amtrak owns and operates the terminal’s 21 tracks and plans to close portions of them for 44 days, from July 7 through July 25 and from Aug. 4 through Aug. 28.
The proposal detailed the locations of 21 repairs that would be made, with at least two tracks being closed at a time during the work, but did not indicate how the closures would affect July and August train schedules — or commuters.
Officials from Amtrak, LIRR and NJ Transit are expected to meet Thursday to finalize the repair schedule for Penn Station, an Amtrak statement said.
“All groups are working with the common goal of creating service schedules that minimize impact on the traveling public when we do the necessary upgrades to Penn Station,” the statement said. “We will jointly communicate this information once a unified approach has been agreed to, potentially next week.”
During track repairs after one of the derailments, in which eight of Penn Station’s 21 tracks were out of service, NJ Transit had to reduce its 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. schedule into Penn Station to 25 trains from its normal 63.
Such a drop in service during Amtrak’s summer repairs is “not acceptable,” NJ Transit Executive Director Steven H. Santoro told lawmakers on Friday at a hearing in Trenton.
In a statement on the railroad's website, Santoro promised that "a comprehensive service plan will be put into place that will maximize all alternative resources to keep our customers moving during this challenging time."