A month in, Amtrak’s latest round of infrastructure repair work at New York Penn Station is moving right along — and on schedule, Chief Engineer Gery Williams said during a media call Friday.
“We’re making good progress, and we remain on schedule for Track 15 work,” he said.
Workers did, however, run into an issue on Jan. 22 as they were doing demolition work on the track and discovered a section of old concrete that was “more deteriorated than we thought,” Williams said.
While crews are prepared for such issues, which are not uncommon when breaking up aged infrastructure like that of Penn Station, he added, the deterioration did delay the pouring of new concrete on Track 15. To mitigate that, Amtrak added a third concrete truck “which allowed us to catch up to the schedule, and it didn’t impact any of the work going forward,” Williams said, adding that the slight delay did not increase construction costs.
Williams does not anticipate the deteriorated concrete workers saw on Track 15 becoming an issue during the remaining repairs — or on the other 21 tracks Amtrak owns and operates at Penn Station, the nation’s busiest rail hub.
“It was a very small section, but we still do inspections and tests we do to ensure the integrity of the track concrete for safety,” he said. “There was never a situation where the track was not safe.”
Track 15 demolition work is now complete, Williams said, and workers will begin laying and welding new rail. Its work will be complete by the end of February, with repairs on Track 18 on schedule to begin in March.
This round of renewal work, which began Jan. 5 and is slated to end May 28, is being done in tandem with upgrades within Penn Station itself, such as the recently completed modernization of the women’s restrooms in the Amtrak concourse. Similar work on the concourse men’s room is currently underway.
“It is extremely imperative we get this up to standard, and we have plans for the next five years to do significant work to do work at the station,” Williams said.