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Amtrak announces summer 2018 repair work at Penn Station

"While the schedules have yet to be finalized, there will be fewer service impacts and schedule changes compared to Summer 2017,” Amtrak said.
Summer of Hell Part 2? Amtrak announces summer repair work on Penn Station infrastructure, including Track 19 and the Empire Tunnel and Spuyten Duyvil Bridge.
Summer of Hell Part 2? Amtrak announces summer repair work on Penn Station infrastructure, including Track 19 and the Empire Tunnel and Spuyten Duyvil Bridge. (Amtrak)

Amtrak will continue its infrastructure renewal work at New York Penn Station for the second consecutive summer, the agency announced Tuesday.

This round of work, estimated to cost between $45 million and $50 million, will make critical repairs and reconstruction on three major New York City assets: Track 19 in Penn Station and the Empire Tunnel and Spuyten Duyvil Bridge, which gives train access between Upstate New York and Penn Station.

Work on the Empire Connection and Spuyten Duyvil Bridge is slated to begin May 26, while Track 19 work will get underway June 8. 

But before commuters think this is Summer of Hell Part 2, “there will be fewer service impacts and schedule changes compared to Summer 2017,” Amtrak said in its announcement, which also added that schedules have not yet been finalized.

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“Amtrak is continuing to prioritize updating the infrastructure in and around New York Penn Station to improve our service reliability,” Executive Vice President and COO Scot Naparstek said. “We thank our partners for their coordination and flexibility as we continue this important and necessary work.”

The summer 2018 Amtrak work on the Empire Tunnel will include the replacement of track inside as well as cross ties, grade crossings and 8,000 feet of continuous rail, including track between the tunnel and the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge. Amtrak will also update the bridge’s mechanical and electrical equipment, which was corroded by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Work on Track 19 in Penn Station includes the replacement of three turnouts, ballasted track and wood-tie track.

Service changes for Amtrak’s Summer 2018 Penn Station repairs

Though Amtrak stated that schedule changes are still being finalized — and commuters will experience “fewer service impacts and schedule changes” than they did last summer — the agency did release some modifications passengers can expect.

Work on the Empire Connection and Spuyten Duyvil Bridge is slated to take place between May 26 and Sept. 4. During that time, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Adirondack and Maple Leaf trains will be rerouted from Penn Station to Grand Central Terminal. Additionally, the Lake Shore Limited will run between Boston and Chicago only, with New York City and Hudson Valley riders connecting from Empire Service trains at Albany-Rensselaer. 

Work on Track 19 in Penn Station will begin June 8 and conclude July 20. The current modified Amtrak schedule announced in January ahead of its winter work will remain through July 20, Amtrak said.

The LIRR schedules in place for the current Penn Station repairs will remain when crews shift from Track 18 to Track 19 this summer. Passengers, however, are encouraged to listen to track assignment announcements for the most up-to-date info once the work commences, the agency said. 

New Jersey Transit has not yet announced if there will be any new service changes.