<![CDATA[NBC New York - Local News - Train Pain ]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/localen-usWed, 20 Sep 2017 00:25:41 -0400Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:25:41 -0400NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[NJ Transit Sues Ex-worker Who Called it 'Runaway Train']]>Fri, 08 Sep 2017 07:08:11 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nj+transit+generic.jpg

New Jersey Transit has filed a lawsuit against a former compliance officer who told lawmakers he was fired for raising safety and other concerns but who the agency says was actually fired for misusing a company car and failing at his job.

Todd Barretta told a joint legislative oversight committee last month that the nation's third-largest bus and rail agency was a dysfunctional "runaway train" and that he catalogued problems including inadequate staffing levels and failures to update outdated policies.

The lawsuit, filed by the agency in a state court on Thursday, alleges that Barretta "set out on a campaign to malign NJ Transit and its leadership" after he was fired last month from his $175,000-a-year job. The lawsuit comes after Republican Gov. Chris Christie last week labeled Barretta's Aug. 25 testimony "false and retaliatory" and an attempt to manufacture a scandal.

Barretta wasn't immediately available for comment Thursday, and his attorney, William Russiello, didn't immediately return a phone call or an email seeking comment. Russiello wrote in a letter to the transit agency on Sept. 1 that Barretta testified truthfully at the hearing.

"None of his statements were false, misleading or otherwise inaccurate," the lawyer wrote. "If the personnel about whom Mr. Barretta testified are upset over his testimony concerning their actions, we suggest that they modify their behavior, rather than attempt to silence Mr. Barretta by intimidation or pursue retaliatory actions against him."

The lawsuit seeks a declaration that NJ Transit didn't violate the state's Conscientious Employee Protection Act, as well as unspecified damages from Barretta for breaching his duty of loyalty to the agency. It also seeks the return of any agency property he still has.

The lawsuit says that, based on records from a GPS device, fewer than 200 of the 2,000 miles he drove in a company car were for legitimate work purposes and that he falsified monthly mileage reports. It cites trips to pick up his child from school and shopping trips.

It disputes some of Barretta's testimony, including that he wasn't given a budget, that he was advised to mark communication "privileged" to hide it from public records obligations and that Executive Director Steve Santoro admonished him for putting certain recommendations in writing. The transit agency says he had a nearly $1.5 million budget and that Santoro was not in the office the day of that alleged conversation and included a copy of a plane ticket showing him traveling out of the country.

"The thrust of Mr. Barretta's testimony was that he was a model employee whom, for fabricated reasons, NJ TRANSIT suddenly terminated. The accusation is utter nonsense," Santoro wrote in a letter to the lawmakers leading the legislative inquiry into the agency obtained by The Associated Press.

Barretta also took aim at what he called a "patronage" system at the agency and said he witnessed more occurrences of agency-wide mismanagement fueled by ignorance, arrogance, hypocrisy, incompetence, patronage, covering up and corruption than one could reasonably expect to experience throughout an entire career."

Democratic Assemblyman John McKeon pointed to issues that Barretta raised being independently corroborated, including that federal regulators are investigating abuse of the Family Medical Leave Act at the agency.

"To just be dismissive of what he has to say in the form of a lawsuit to me is just a continuation of the systemic issues here," McKeon said. "Their concentration should be on running a better operation as opposed to trying to discredit one of the senior administrators."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Normal Service Returns at Penn Station]]>Tue, 05 Sep 2017 19:09:22 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Normal_Service_Returns_at_Penn_Station.jpg

Summer of hell or summer of swell? Andrew Siff was on the ground with commuters as normal service returned to Penn Station.]]>
<![CDATA[Amtrak: Penn Repairs Done, Rebuilding of Bathrooms to Come]]>Thu, 31 Aug 2017 18:30:28 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/DIk8B3_UEAAYxx_.jpg

Amtrak officials said Thursday that the summer repair work at Penn Station is done following a nearly two-month overhaul, infamously dubbed the "summer of hell," that forced rairloads that share the busy transit hub to curtail service. 

Amtrak co-CEO Wick Moorman said Thursday that the repairs were completed "on time, on budget and most importantly, safely."

Normal service into and out of Penn Station will resume Tuesday for Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road. All three railroads reduced service when the repair work started in early July.

The repairs centered on the sorting mechanism that routes trains between New York and New Jersey as well as trains to the LIRR's West Side railyard.

Amtrak officials say additional repair work still to be completed will be done on nights and weekends and won't affect service.

The officials also said they have no plans to keep Empire Service (which travels upstate to Albany) at Grand Central Terminal, where it was temporarily diverted during the overhaul. Empire Service will return to Penn Station next week. 

Officials also announced they're looking to start rebuilding restrooms in the transit hub in the next few weeks, a project they hope to finish by the end of this year. The station's waiting areas will also get a makeover. 

Moorman said Amtrak workers installed 897 track ties, 1,100 feet (335 meters) of rail, 176 yards (161 meters) of concrete and four of the track crossover structures called complex diamond crossings.

Two derailments and other problems in the spring prompted Amtrak to speed up the schedule for the repairs, which initially were to be completed over a few years.

In an interview with NBC 4 New York earlier this month, Amtrak Chief Operating Officer Scot Naparstek said he expected to have full service restored on time, or even ahead of schedule. He said commuters should expect an on-time service of more than 90 percent.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

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<![CDATA[NY Waterway to Keep Popular Hoboken-Midtown Route]]>Wed, 30 Aug 2017 15:32:38 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/NY+waterway+boat+clear+day.jpg

A water ferry route, created this summer to help NJ Transit deal with a crush of rerouted commuters during track repairs at Penn Station, is here to stay.

NY Waterway released its schedule for the new ferry route on Wednesday.

The transportation company said regular commuter ferry service between Hoboken Terminal and the West 39th Street Ferry Terminal would begin on Sept. 5 — the day NJ Transit and LIRR are returning to normal schedules after the eight-week overhaul of Penn Station.

More than 65,000 people have used the service since July 10, NY Waterway said.

NJ Transit will no longer cross-honor with PATH and NY Waterway starting Saturday, Sept. 2 at 3 a.m. 

Starting Sept. 5, ferries will depart Hoboken every 20 minutes until 10 a.m.

Amtrak says the repair project at Penn Station is being completed on schedule. The repairs affected hundreds of thousands of commuters who use the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

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<![CDATA[Penn Station Repair Work Ahead of Schedule]]>Fri, 25 Aug 2017 22:22:23 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Penn_Station_Repair_Work_Ahead_of_Schedule.jpg

For the first time all summer, trains are running again on Track 10 at Penn Station, and full service is set to return in a little more than a week. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[LIRR, NJ Transit Returning to Normal Schedule]]>Thu, 24 Aug 2017 20:15:09 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Commuters_Suffer_Through_LIRR_Delays_Twice_in_Same_Day.jpg

Regular weekday service for will resume for Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit riders on the day after Labor Day, officials said. 

Thursday's announcement comes the same day Amtrak said it would resume regular train service at Penn Station on Tuesday, Sept. 5, following eight weeks of infrastructure repairs at the station. 

The MTA said discounted LIRR fares for traveling to alternative stations, which were put in place during the overhaul, will end on Friday, Sept. 1. Temporary bus and ferry service put in place for LIRR riders will also end on Sept. 1. 

NJ Transit officials said Midtown Direct trains on the Morris and Essex Line will no longer be diverted to Hoboken Terminal and that North Jersey Coast Line trains will resume operating into Hoboken. 

As with LIRR, NJ Transit's alternative travel options, discounted fares and cross-honoring will end on Sept. 1, as will morning peak-period express buses to Port Authority from Morristown, Madison, Summit, Maplewood, South Orange and Newark Broad Street. 

NJ Transit will no longer cross-honor with PATH and NY Waterway starting Saturday, Sept. 2 at 3 a.m. However, new ferry service between Hoboken and West 39th Street in Manhattan will continue to operate. 

Amtrak says the repair project at Penn Station is being completed on schedule. The repairs affected hundreds of thousands of commuters who use the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak. 

During the repairs, Amtrak had diverted some trains between New York City and Albany to Grand Central Terminal. It also had cut back some service between New York and Washington, D.C.

Two derailments and other problems in the spring prompted Amtrak to speed up the schedule for the repairs, which initially were to be completed over a few years.

In an interview with NBC 4 New York last week, Amtrak Chief Operating Officer Scot Naparstek said he expected to have full service restored on time, or even ahead of schedule. He said commuters should expect an on-time service of more than 90 percent.

“We are used to running Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit at 90-plus percent on-time performance,” Naparstek said. “I expect to be running well above 90 percent when we restore service, so that’s got to be our goal.”

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Trash Causes Hours Long Subway Chaos]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 19:21:25 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Trash_Causes_Hours_Long_Subway_Chaos.jpg

Subway riders were still experiencing delays Wednesday night, hours after poorly secured trash on a southbound refuse train at 14th Street fell on the tracks, causing a single train to get stuck twice and setting off a series of sweeping subway disruptions. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Customers Give LIRR a Bad Review]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 19:20:40 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Customers_Give_LIRR_a_Bad_Review.jpg

Only 35 percent of Long Island Railroad customers say they're satisfied with the service. Greg Cergol reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Majority of LIRR Riders Dissatisfied With Service: Survey]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 18:06:40 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Crowded+LIRR+Subway+change.jpg

A newly released poll of Long Island Rail Road commuters found that a considerable majority are dissatisfied not only with overall service, but with on-time train performance, overcrowded conditions and the cleanliness of train cars.

In results released Wednesday by the Nassau County Comptroller’s Office, only 35 percent of riders said they were satisfied with LIRR service. The results vary significantly from the LIRR’s own internal survey released last year, which found 84 percent of commuters were satisfied with overall service.

Comptroller George Maragos announced he will delay the county’s $28 million station maintenance payment to the MTA, which runs the LIRR, until the agency provides a plan for improvement.

“Management is only deceiving itself with their internal polling which appears to be as unreliable as the service being provided,” Maragos said in a statement. (Maragos is currently running in a Democratic primary for county executive.)

LIRR riders have faced delays, sometimes hours long, caused by track issues, power problems and derailments in Penn Station and in the tunnels leading to it.

MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan defended its service in a statement provided to NBC 4 New York, saying the agency has made "an unprecedented investment of billions of dollars to transform the LIRR into a 21st Century railroad." 

Donovan also said that in July the LIRR had its best month of on-time performance all year, a feat it credited to "the robust and successful measures taken to mitigate the impacts of Amtrak’s summer repair work at Penn Station."

"Comptroller Maragos should set aside his grandstanding," Donovan said, adding that Nassau County can't by law withhold funds to the MTA. 

"[Maragos] would be hurting his own constituents and be a part of the problem, not the solution, if he withheld critically needed funding from the LIRR," Donovan said. 

The new poll surveyed LIRR riders in Nassau County and found: 65 percent of riders are unsatisfied; 64 percent think on-time train performance is poor; 55 percent think trains are overcrowded; 54 percent find the announcements on platforms to be poor; and 54 percent say that trains are unclean.

The survey was conducted between July 17 and August 6 of this year by interviewing LIRR riders online and in-person at stations in Floral Park, Garden City, Great Neck, Merrick, Mineola, Stewart Manor and Rockville Centre. It had a sample size of 380 and a margin of error of ±5 percent. Riders ranked LIRR service on the basis of “very satisfied,” “satisfied,” “average,” “unsatisfied” or “very unsatisfied.”

Among the specific complaints riders had were that older stations are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and that ticket prices are high compared to the service provided.

Earlier this summer, some LIRR riders said they were filing a class action lawsuit alleging emotional distress and negligence. The plaintiffs said they're seeking unspecified damages along with reimbursement of monthly LIRR passes for the month of May.

Speaking to a meeting of the Long Island Association last month, Gov. Cuomo said $5.6 billion in upgrades will transform the LIRR and help make up for decades of neglect. The work will involve laying 10 miles of new track to ease congestion along the busiest part of the rail road, along with the replacement of 20 miles of aging track. Stations will be renovated, parking will be added and signal switches and other equipment will be upgraded.

Transit in and around New York City has been plagued by a series of recent derailments, delays and breakdowns, prompting Cuomo to warn of a "summer of hell" for commuters. He has since eased off of that prediction, with repairs at Penn Station ahead of schedule and set to be completed by Sept. 5.

More than a half million people pass through Penn Station daily on New York City subways and trains run by Amtrak, NJ Transit and the LIRR.

The station, which is owned by Amtrak, is undergoing accelerated repair work to replace several thousand feet of track, switches and other aging infrastructure. The speedup was prompted by two derailments in the station during the spring that wreaked havoc on rail service.

On Wednesday morning, a non-passenger New Jersey Transit train derailed at Penn Station. No one was hurt and service was running on or close to schedule for the morning rush.



Photo Credit: AP/File photo]]>
<![CDATA[Track Trash Causes Epic Subway Chaos, MTA Vows Discipline]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 19:23:28 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/subway+delays+update.jpg

The MTA has promised appropriate discipline after poorly secured trash on a southbound refuse train at 14th Street fell on the tracks, causing a single train to get stuck twice -- once in Manhattan and once in Brooklyn -- and a series of sweeping subway disruptions during Wednesday's morning rush. 

The agency blamed "operator error" for the ensuing nightmare that stranded thousands upon thousands of riders, left others in what customers described as "knee-deep" crowds on platforms and caused hours worth of delays.

It started when a southbound Q train got stuck north of the Canal Street station around 6 a.m. because of the trash issue. Forty five minutes later, it got stuck again, this time at DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn. The latter breakdown at DeKalb, a major crossroads where any problem can immediately impact multiple train lines, caused major disruptions on the B, D, E, F, M, N, Q and R trains for hours.

It wasn't immediately clear how many workers were responsible for the trash fiasco, and the nature of any disciplinary action wasn't specified.

"New York City Transit and the MTA have zero tolerance for worker errors that cause service problems," the MTA said in a statement. "Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken as necessary pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation."

The MTA said the major impacts were mostly in Brooklyn, and as of noon, B and D train service were running normally but with delays and M train service, which had been partially suspended for a time, was restored. Service on the N and Q lines continued to run over the R from Canal Street to DeKalb Avenue. Later, the MTA said the same issue forced a suspension on the W line between Astoria-Ditmas Boulevard and Whitehall Street.

By about 5 p.m., the trash issue had been resolved but the affected subway lines were still experiencing residual delays. 

Separately, a report of a smoke condition in the Steinway Tunnel, which shuttles 7 trains under the East River between 42nd Street in Manhattan and 51st Avenue in Long Island City, shut down service on the line at the height of the morning rush. No. 7 train service was held in both directions as the FDNY investigated around 9 a.m. It was restored within about 20 minutes.

The disruptions caused major overcrowding on platforms from Queens to Manhattan to Brooklyn. Photos posted to social media showed throngs of riders stuck on the platform at Delancey Street while at least one Twitter user described "knee-deep" crowds after being transferred from a No. 7 train because of the smoke condition. Frustrated straphangers blasted the MTA on Twitter.

Rail customers didn't escape their own headaches Wednesday. Long Island Rail Road customers on the Ronkonkoma line were stuck at stations or delayed during the evening rush hour because of signal problems near Deer Park. It comes on the same day a new poll found that a considerable majority of LIRR riders are dissatisfied with service. 

Earlier in the morning, a non-passenger New Jersey Transit train derailed inside New York Penn Station, but no one was hurt and service was running on or close to schedule by the time the peak morning commute got underway, officials said. An NJ Transit spokesperson said an Amtrak crew was operating the train out of the yard around 4:25 a.m. when the engine came off the tracks at Track 4. The train cars were blocking tracks 1 through 5, which are not the ones already subject to closure for Amtrak's summer-long infrastructure overhaul.

[[374756761, C]]

Service on the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast, Morris & Essex and Montclair-Boonton lines was subject to about 20-minute delays for a time. Officials had cautioned delays and cancellations were possible for the morning rush, but NJ Transit said around 6:30 a.m. that the engine had been re-railed and service in and out of Penn was operating on or close to schedule. Get real-time transit updates here. 

The Long Island Railroad said it was not affected by the derailment. 

Trains have been operating under revised schedules since July while Amtrak conducts extensive repairs at the aging Manhattan transit hub. At least three tracks have been subject to closure at any given time; work is focusing on six. Before the work began, Gov. Cuomo warned that commuters could be in for a "summer of hell," but his ominous prediction has fallen short of expectations.

Amtrak's repair work is expected to be completed by Labor Day. 

Amtrak said in a statement the derailment was "not in the renewal area and will not impact this work." 


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<![CDATA[NY Waterway to Keep Route Started During Train Repairs]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 18:13:14 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Untitled-1264.jpg

New York Waterway says it will continue running the ferries between Hoboken and Midtown Manhattan that it began during train schedule cutbacks this summer.

The service began in July when track work at New York's Penn Station forced New Jersey Transit to redirect some trains to Hoboken. NY Waterway said Monday the service will continue after the repairs are finished at Penn Station on Sept. 1.

NY Waterway said more than 65,000 people have used the ferries since the Penn Station work began July 10.

The eight-minute ride will cost $8, with 10-trip tickets costing $75 and monthly passes costing $274.50.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

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<![CDATA[Amtrak Official: Penn Station Repairs Ahead of Schedule]]>Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:04:13 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AMTRAK+PENN+STATION+WEEK+6+OF+REPAIRS.jpg

With just two weeks to go until a deadline for major repairs at Penn Station, an Amtrak official said the railroad agency is ahead of schedule and “absolutely” expects full service to be returned by the day after Labor Day.

In an interview with NBC 4 New York, Amtrak Chief Operating Officer Scot Naparstek said he expects to have full service restored by Tuesday, Sept. 5. He said commuters should expect an on-time service of more than 90 percent.

“We are used to running Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit at 90-plus percent on-time performance,” Naparstek said. “I expect to be running well above 90 percent when we restore service, so that’s got to be our goal.”

Naparstek even said there’s a possibility Amtrak might finish the work a couple of days early, on Labor Day weekend.

It’s been six weeks since Amtrak started repairs on track infrastructure below Penn Station, America’s busiest rail hub. Naparstek said week six concluded without any significant issues and that crews spent time reassembling the interlocking at Interlocking A in the western part of the station.

New time-lapse video released Friday by Amtrak shows progress replacing tracks, ties, signals and switches near Track 10, one of the spots of crumbling infrastructure blamed for causing recurring delays and even derailments in the spring.

Earlier this month, an Amtrak official said this summer’s overhaul was going so well that the railroad agency is more likely than ever to push for future repairs next year. Amtrak is only fixing a small portion of the station this summer. In addition to a possible similar disruption in 2018, there’s also the possibility of several extended service outages sometime in the future.

Riders have generally agreed that the “summer of hell” has yet to live up to its ominous name. Even Gov. Cuomo, who foresaw the work creating a “summer of hell” for riders, said, “It has not yet turned out to be the summer of hell. Let’s hope it stays that way.”

While Amtrak isn’t guaranteeing perfection at Penn Station within two weeks’ time, it insists that its summer of repairs will significantly reduce the risk of problems, derailments and delays.



Photo Credit: Amtrak]]>
<![CDATA[Did Gov. Cuomo's Tour of the Subway Pose a Risk to Riders?]]>Fri, 11 Aug 2017 21:52:13 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cuomo+beneath+columbus+circle+subway+station.jpg

Days after MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said he was investigating Mayor de Blasio for holding up a train for a subway-related photo-op, Gov. Cuomo had a photo-op of his own on the tracks of the A train as he explored the antiquated infrastructure that powers the century-old transit system.

But did Wednesday’s dramatic tour of the subway corridors below Columbus Circle, in which Cuomo was joined by Con Ed Chairman John McAvoy, have a negative impact on commuters? 

The governor’s aides bristled Friday when NBC 4 New York asked whether his media event posed any safety concerns or delays to riders. They insisted his visit was 100 percent safe and was chaperoned by MTA staff and state police.

In a statement, Lhota said that “MTA staff secured every aspect of the tour. It was entirely safe and not a single train was delayed. Period.”

But transportation analyst Alex Armlovich says it would be hard to imagine how a normal train schedule wouldn’t be impacted by a group of journalists and officials walking around on the tracks.

Armlovich says train operators should’ve slowed down for the governor and his entourage, just as they would slow down when workers are on the tracks.

“Either, on one hand, they were following the normal safety procedure of slowing down trains and honking and having men wave flags to alert the driver, or you guys were not protected by the normal safety precautions that are used during track work. It has to be one or the other,” Armlovich said.

The governor’s aides conceded that not everybody on the tour received special track safety training in advance, which has previously been a requirement to cover any assignment on the tracks.

Last year, the Daily News' transit reporter, Dan Rivoli, wrote an article about his track training. On Cuomo’s tour Wednesday, reporters were not asked to put on the special safety gear described in Rivoli's story, like a white hard hat or a reflective vest.

Jim Hall, who chaired the NTSB for seven years during the Clinton administration, questioned whether Cuomo put publicity ahead of safety on Wednesday, saying “any effort to use an operational track for publicity purposes needs to be carefully considered.”

No one was hurt during Wednesday’s tour, although several journalists told NBC 4 that that they were surprised by just how up-close their access was.


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<![CDATA[Cuomo's Underground Subway Tour Raises Questions]]>Fri, 11 Aug 2017 19:06:37 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cuomo+beneath+columbus+circle+subway+station.jpg

Days after MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said he was investigating Mayor de Blasio for holding up a train for a subway-related photo-op, Gov. Cuomo had a photo-op of his own on the tracks of the A train as he explored the antiquated infrastructure that powers the century-old system. Did the governor's underground trip inconvenience commuters? The governor's office and the MTA said it didn't, but a transit analyst says trains would have had to slow down while the governor and others were on the tracks. Melissa Russo reports.]]>
<![CDATA[I-Team: Manhattan Skyscraper Developers To Fund Subway Improvements]]>Thu, 10 Aug 2017 18:53:23 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/I-Team__Manhattan_Skyscraper_Developers_To_Fund_Subway.jpg

In order for skyscraper developers to expand construction in Midtown, they have made a deal with New York City to pay for subway improvements. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Cuomo Promises Fix to Power Problems Crippling Subway]]>Wed, 09 Aug 2017 18:14:27 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Cuomo_Promises_Fix_to_Power_Problems_Crippling_Subway.jpg

Gov. Cuomo and Con Edison are promising to fix the aging electrical network that powers the city's subway system. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Cuomo Vows Fix to Power Problems Plaguing Subway With Delays]]>Wed, 09 Aug 2017 18:14:46 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cuomo+beneath+columbus+circle+subway+station.jpg

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the head of Con Edison are promising to fix the aging electrical network that powers the subway system amid thousands of monthly delays.

Power problems that have been causing thousands of delays for subway riders have led to a power struggle about who will pay and how quickly repairs can be done.

Cuomo and Con Ed Chairman John McAvoy, gave reporters an underground tour of the Columbus Circle subway station, so the public could get a first-hand look at the aging signals and switches that are plaguing the system.

Cuomo said Con Ed is working with the MTA, which runs the system, on the fixes and upgrades. The electricity that powers the trains is delivered via some technology that dates back to the 1930s. 

According to Cuomo and the MTA, over the past year there have been 32,000 delays across the subway system caused by power-related problems. Sometimes Con Ed blames the MTA, other times the MTA says it’s Con Ed equipment that’s at fault.

Cuomo said Wednesday that he’s tired of the bickering and is ordering steep fines for power-related subway problems. He said the fines could be imposed as soon as the next power problem takes place.

“Getting hit by a train is never fun,” Cuomo told news crews as he directed them through the winding, dark tunnels below the city.

“This is the largest single area of delays: 32,000 power-related delays,” Cuomo said beneath the Columbus Circle station, which serves 1, A, C, B and D trains.

McAvoy has vowed to upgrade 1,100 manholes that power the subway system, in many cases replacing aluminum cable with copper.

“It’s not that it is so much more reliable — it is more reliable. So we’ve been replacing it as necessary throughout this system,” McAvoy said of the copper cables.

Cuomo has ordered a renovation of power systems, and has dismissed Mayor de Blasio’s plan to pay for the subway repairs with a millionaires’ tax.

“He’s proposed a millionaires’ tax several times before and it’s failed,” Cuomo said.

De Blasio has said it’s Cuomo who has diverted money from the MTA budget in recent years.

“It is everyone’s fault and no one’s fault,” Cuomo said. “Because, frankly, I’m not that interested in blame and finger pointing. I’m interested in fixing the problem.”

The upgrade to the power systems is going to be happening at both the Con Edison level, where the company is going to be fixing 1,100 manholes and swapping out cables, and underground at the MTA level. Con Ed and the MTA will each pay for some of it. 

"In the past, we have put Band-Aids over the entire system, because it's an immense system, 600 miles of tracks, thousands of electrical devices all throughout the system, many devices decades old," Cuomo said.

State regulators directed Con Ed, which provides the subway system with electricity, to take a number of steps to reduce the number of power outages. That will include testing and repairing power substations, cables, energy distribution rooms and signaling equipment.

Some of the fixes will happen in the next six months and others in the next year. Cuomo and the MTA said that should improve the problem of delays plaguing the system.

A full cost estimate has yet to be produced, but Cuomo said it would cost "tens of millions of dollars."

On Tuesday, the MTA revealed that it has a shortage of hundreds of workers needed to help implement the fixes.

"I think there are probably a few hundred [vacancies that need to be filled], and so we're in the process of filling them now," MTA Managing Director Ronnie Hakim told News 4.

Hakim said that if all the money was in place, they could hire 700 people by the end of this year — then commuters would notice service improvements early next year.

At the oversight hearing Tuesday, Hakim pledged to hire hundreds of workers if the city pays half the cost.

"We're asking for your help to ensure that it is jointly funded between the city and the state," Hakim said.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito cautioned that increasing taxes for the subways requires council approval. But she also took aim at Cuomo, who has demanded the city pay half of all MTA budget needs.

"To make it seem that the governor is being so magnanimous and that the city is rejecting its responsibility, I'm not going to accept that," Mark-Viverito said.

Hakim faced fire from City Council members amid a summer of derailments and delays. The members vented on behalf of riders who are tired of being late to work amid broken signals and overcrowded trains.

Meanwhile, city officials released the results of thousands of surveys filled out last week when city lawmakers and transit advocates took to the subway to get an up-close look at the state of the aging system and the problems of commuters.

The survey of 2,000 riders by the City Council found that 75 percent of riders said delays and overcrowding were the biggest issues they face. That same group of people reported being stuck on crowded platforms or crowded trains four times a week.


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<![CDATA[MTA Challenged at Subway Oversight Hearing]]>Tue, 08 Aug 2017 19:20:08 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/MTA_Challenged_at_Subway_Oversight_Hearing.jpg

The City Council grilled the MTA on how to overhaul the aging subway system at a hearing Tuesday. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Delays on E, F, M and R Subway Lines Amid Signal Problems]]>Tue, 08 Aug 2017 17:07:18 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/IMG_81131.JPG

UPDATE: Service has since resumed on the 2, 3, 4, 5, B and D trains, however the signal problems at 65th Street, there are still delays on E, F, M and R trains. Also, E trains are running local from Forest Hills-71st Avenue to Queens Plaza, and 71st Avenue-bound M trains are running on the J line from Delancey Street-Essex Street to Chambers Street, where they terminate. 


E, F, B, D, 2, 3, 4 and 5 trains are experiencing delays because of signal problems in Manhattan, as well as police activity and a train with mechanical problems in Brooklyn. 

An NYPD investigation at Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn is causing delays on the 2, 3, 4 and 5 lines. 

A signal problem at 65th Street in Queens is causing delays for southbound E and F trains. 

A train with mechanical problems at Dekalb Avenue in Brooklyn is causing delays for B and D trains. 

At least one B train was suspended and riders were forced to take an F train. 

Riders said they were being told to get off the B train after it was held at West Fourth Street for 15 minutes due to a stalled train at Broadway-Lafayette Street, where there had been problems earlier Tuesday morning.

Members of the City Council surveyed commuters last week for a report card on the subway system. Their survey of 2,000 riders found 75 percent said delays and overcrowding were the biggest issues. That same group of people reported being stuck on crowded trains or platforms four times a week. 


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<![CDATA[MTA Reveals Worker Shortage as Survey Shows Sweeping Delays]]>Tue, 08 Aug 2017 19:26:52 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/202*120/032409+MTA+subway+metro+generic.jpg

As city officials revealed the results of a commuter subway survey Tuesday, the MTA admitted for the first time that the major reason for current subway problems is that the agency lacks the necessary manpower and needs hundreds of skilled workers capable of fixing the outdated system. 

On Tuesday, the City Council held an MTA oversight meeting to discuss issues facing the system and how to remedy them. Council members were told that there are hundreds of MTA job vacancies — maintanence jobs the MTA admits it should have filled. 

Straphangers couldn't believe the news. "We need to fill those jobs so that our transit system can be better," commuter Lauren Graham, of the Bronx, said. 

The transit agency acknowledged that they've hoped to improve subway service by bringing it back from drastic cuts made years ago, but they simply don't have enough well-trained staff to do the jobs of fixing tracks and signals, the ancient equipment that determines how many trains can run per hour.

"I think there are probably a few hundred [vacancies that need to be filled], and so we're in the process of filling them now," MTA Managing Director Ronnie Hakim told News 4. 

Hakim said that if all the money was in place, they could hire 700 people by the end of this year — then commuters would notice service improvements early next year. 

The cost of filling those jobs and modernizing the system is many billions of dollars. On Monday, Mayor de Blasio and the MTA argued over increasing taxes for the wealthy to help pay to fix the subways. 

At the oversight hearing, Hakim pledged to hire hundreds of workers if the city pays half the cost. 

"We're asking for your help to ensure that it is jointly funded between the city and the state," Hakim said. 

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito cautioned that increasing taxes for the subways requires council approval. But she also took aim at Gov. Cuomo, who has demanded the city pay half of all MTA budget needs. 

"To make it seem that the governor is being so magnanimous and that the city is rejecting its responsibility, I'm not going to accept that," Mark-Viverito said. 

Cuomo had yet to respond to her comments Tuesday evening.

Hakim faced fire from City Council members amid a summer of derailments and delays. The members vented on behalf of riders who are tired of being late to work amid broken signals and overcrowded trains. 

"You guys are unreliable, unresponsive, and you don't care about anyone except for your own jobs," Councilman Chaim Deutsch said. 

Councilman Jumaane Williams was frustrated that MTA Chairman Joe Lhota didn't attend the meeting. 

"He's being disrespectful to this city and disrespectful to this city council," Williams said.  

The MTA said Lhota had a scheduling conflict. 

Hakim left City Hall saying the tone of lawmakers didn't help. 

"I take exception to that, I think we can have a productive dialogue without casting personal aspersions," she said. 

Meanwhile, city officials released the results of thousands of surveys filled out last week when city lawmakers and transit advocates took to the subway to get an up-close look at the state of the aging system and the problems of commuters. 

The survey of 2,000 riders by the City Council found that 75 percent of riders said delays and overcrowding were the biggest issues they face. That same group of people reported being stuck on crowded platforms or crowded trains four times a week. 

Officials spent 12 hours Thursday and 12 hours Friday conducting a listening tour across the city's five boroughs for the survey. The 24-hour Riders Respond Transit Tour came in the wake of delays, derailments, power outages and track fires. As advocates rode the rails across the city, they heard an array of complaints. 

“They can be more on time,” Ling of Lower Manhattan said. "A lot of the time, I want to say 80 percent of the time, they’re not on time.”

Outside City Hall, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said the problems go way beyond simple inconveniences. 

"These issues have real consequence," Rodriguez said. "Those who made appointments or who were late to work and school can face penalties. Some miss out on job opportunities, while others can even be fired." 

Ydanis said he wants to sit down with Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to talk about the problems facing the subway, which has seen ridership soar in recent years while a significant amount of the infrastructure, including the signal system, remains outdated. 

Ashley Claris, of the Bronx, was late to Manhattan yet again Tuesday. 

"That's delaying my ride on the train so I can get to work," she said. "It is kind of frustrating." 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Mayor Proposes Millionaires' Tax to Fix Subway]]>Mon, 07 Aug 2017 18:59:50 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NYC_Mayor_Proposes_Millionaires__Tax_to_Fix_Subway_1200x675_1019393603989.jpg

Mayor de Blasio wants to tax the wealthiest 1 percent to fund critical subway repairs and reduce fares for low-income New Yorkers. Melissa Russo reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Amtrak Will Likely Seek a 2nd Round of Penn Repairs in 2018]]>Sun, 06 Aug 2017 02:26:23 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/PENN+STATION+REPAIRS.jpg

This summer's overhaul of the tracks below Penn Station has gone so smoothly that an Amtrak official said the transit agency is more likely than ever to push for future repairs next year — that means more fixes to the station’s aging infrastructure, but also more service disruptions for the thousands of commuters who pass through America's busiest rail station every day.

Amtrak CEO Charles Moorman previously said the railroad was planning two periods of service disruptions for repairs: the current one, which started July 10 and lasts until Sept. 1, and a second one in 2018.

On Friday, Amtrak’s chief engineer, Gery Williams, said the 2018 repairs are even more of a sure thing given that the ongoing repairs, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo predicted would be a “summer of hell” for commuters, haven't wreaked havoc.

“I don’t think we’re surprised,” Williams told News 4 on Friday, adding that he didn’t want to speak for the whole company. “But we will certainly be, as far as Amtrak engineering, asking for more.”

Taking three tracks out of service and leaving Penn Station with only 18 viable tracks hasn’t been the hell-scape that many foresaw. But that doesn’t mean commuters or the agencies that lease out space at Penn Station, which is owned and operated by Amtrak, are thrilled by the possibility of more disruptions.

On Friday, the largest tenant of the station, the MTA Long Island Rail Road, said it will not sign off on any sort of track shutdown until Amtrak makes sure riders aren’t seriously affected.

“Our customers are tired of problems in Penn Station and the East River tunnels, and they deserve infrastructure there that just works,” said MTA spokesperson Shams Tarek in a statement.

“Amtrak will need to prioritize its work to fix Penn and the tunnels, but it also needs to do it in a way that minimizes the impact on LIRR riders, who make up the majority of the traffic at Penn,” Tarek said.

On Friday, Amtrak released a time-lapse video to show the progress made over the past month of repairs. Amtrak has said it would typically take years to complete a reconstruction of this magnitude, yet they’re doing it in just eight weeks.

So far, workers have removed old track foundations and poured fresh concrete in preparation for new rails.

Amtrak is only fixing a small portion of the station this summer. In addition to a possible similar disruption in 2018, there’s also the possibility of several extended service outages sometime in the future.

Commuters weren’t thrilled to hear that more disruptions could be coming, but conceded there wasn’t much they could do and that the fixes are necessary.

“It’s not going to be the best, but you’ve got to get to work somehow. If it has to be like that, it has to be like that,” said Brianna Muschitiello, of St. James.

“We manage to get through it. I don’t know if we manage to get through it so well, but we manage,” said Eddie Adamsky of Great Neck. “We are New Yorkers, we are tough.”

But riders have generally agreed that the “summer of hell” has yet to live up to its ominous name. Even Cuomo said, “It has not yet turned out to be the summer of hell. Let’s hope it stays that way.”

While Amtrak isn’t guaranteeing perfection at Penn Station within four weeks’ time, it insists that its summer of repairs will significantly reduce the risk of problems, derailments and delays.

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<![CDATA[Amtrak Says 2018 Penn Repairs Are Ever More Likely]]>Fri, 04 Aug 2017 18:30:45 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Amtrak_Says_2018_Penn_Repairs_Are_Ever_More_Likely.jpg

This summer's overhaul of the tracks below Penn Station has been so successful that Amtrak says it's more likely than ever to push for more repairs in 2018. That means more likely service disruptions for LIRR, NJ Transit and Amtrak riders. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Church: Even Jesus Avoids Taking the Subway ]]>Fri, 04 Aug 2017 16:21:21 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Evan+Unger.jpg

The beleaguered subway system has been admonished by a Manhattan church.

A sign saying even Jesus Christ tries to dodge the subway’s woes was put up by Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church in Gramercy.

The sign reads: “Jesus walked on water so he wouldn’t have to take the subway.”


A photo of the sign on East 22nd Street was posted to Twitter by Evan Unger, who wrote, “You know the #mta and #NYC #subway issues are getting bad when churches throw shade.”

While Gov. Cuomo predicted a "summer of hell" for NJ Transit and Long Island Rail Road workers amid Amtrak's months-long overhaul of Penn Station, city subway riders have thus far been subjected to a worse predicament. The 112-year-old system has been plagued by a series of signal problems, mechanical breakdowns and now possibly two derailments in the last few months.




Photo Credit: Evan Unger/Twitter
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Advocates Take to Tunnels to Get Feel of NYC Subway System]]>Fri, 04 Aug 2017 02:23:19 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/202*120/032409+MTA+subway+metro+generic.jpg

City lawmakers and transit advocates took to the subway tunnels Thursday and will do so again on Friday to get an up close look at the state of the subway system.

The 24-hour Riders Respond Transit Tour comes in the wake of delays, derailments, power outages and track fires. And on Thursday, those advocates heard an array of complaints. 

“They can be more on time,” Ling of Lower Manhattan said. A lot of the time, I want to say 80 percent of the time, they’re not on time.”

The group, including councilmembers Ydanis Rodriguez and Vanessa Gibson, visited stations across Manhattan and the Bronx. The goal is to assess the state of the subway system and get feedback from commuters.

"I use the train very often," Rodriguez said. "Millions of New Yorkers rely on the trains every day and the train system is important."

The results will be presented at a City Council Transportation hearing on Tuesday.

“We understand riders are frustrated – and they have every right to be – that’s why Chairman Lhota laid out an aggressive plan to take immediate action to stabilize and modernize the system. Today he also unveiled a new leadership team to implement that plan," The MTA said in a statement. 

On, Friday stations at the city's other three boroughs will be conducted. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[‘Summer of Hell’ Not So Hellish Halfway Through: Commuters]]>Thu, 03 Aug 2017 15:34:01 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC+5PM+AIRCHECK+M-F+-+17501006_WNBC_000000017290386.jpg

Halfway through what Gov. Cuomo initially called the “summer of hell,” commuters generally agree that there hasn’t been too much train pain to speak of.

At this point, about four weeks in, workers at Penn Station have removed old track foundations and poured fresh concrete in preparation for new rails.

Amtrak recently said its repairs at Penn are running smoothly and on schedule for its promised Sept. 1 deadline. The railroad says that it would typically take years to complete a reconstruction of this magnitude, yet they’re doing it in just eight weeks.

Thus far, many commuters agree that the only thing hellish about their summer has been the heat.

Commuter Madeline Stockman, of Wantagh, was convinced by her friend that the LIRR remains the best way to get into the city from Long Island.

“He was all nervous about what the summer was going to be like,” she said. “Then he said, 'I don’t know what they’re talking about, it hasn’t been bad.'”

Commuter Michelle Mandile of Babylon agreed.

“It’s been fine for me," she said. "Basically normal.”

Even the man who coined the “summer of hell” conceded that the nickname doesn’t seem to fit so far.

“It has not yet turned out to be the summer of hell. Let’s hope it stays that way,” Cuomo said.

While Amtrak isn’t guaranteeing perfection at Penn Station within four weeks’ time, it insists that its summer of repairs will majorly reduce the risk of problems, derailments and delays.

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<![CDATA[Penn Repairs on Schedule Halfway Through 'Summer of Hell']]>Wed, 02 Aug 2017 20:16:12 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Summer_of_Hell_Halfway_Update__Penn_Station_Repairs.jpg

We're halfway through the "summer of hell," and Andrew Siff has the latest on the Amtrak repairs at Penn Station.]]>
<![CDATA[MTA Ends Queens Part of Ferry Service]]>Wed, 02 Aug 2017 16:10:35 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/MTA_Ends_Queens_Part_of_Ferry_Service.jpg

The MTA is canceling part of its ferry service that temporarily helped riders avoid Penn Station. Andrew Siff reports on why.]]>
<![CDATA[7 N Train Platforms Closed for Repairs Until 2018]]>Mon, 31 Jul 2017 18:28:33 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/7_N_Train_Platforms_Closed_for_Repairs_Until_2018.jpg

Starting July 31, the MTA is closing seven platforms along the N train line for a year and a half to repair and renovate them. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Little Clarity on Who Will Pay NY Subway Overhaul]]>Fri, 28 Jul 2017 18:28:19 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Little_Clarity_on_Who_Will_Pay_NY_Subway_Overhaul.jpg

Commuters could care less who will pay for the train repairs, as long as they get fixed. Melissa Russo reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Penn Station Amtrak Repairs Right on Schedule]]>Fri, 28 Jul 2017 17:35:37 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Penn_Station_Amtrak_Repairs_Right_on_Schedule.jpg

Amtrak says repairs at Penn Station are running smoothly and on schedule for the Sept. 1 deadline. Rana Novini reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Delays on 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Trains Amid Police Investigation]]>Thu, 27 Jul 2017 18:00:54 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/72ND+STREET.jpg

There are delays on the 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 trains in Manhattan, and traffic is building on Broadway because of a police investigation at the 72nd Street subway station.

The MTA said someone had been hit by a train at the station. There was a heavy emergency response at the station shortly before 6 p.m. 

In addition to the subway delays, the investigation is snarling traffic on Broadway at West 72nd Street. The entire left side of the northbound roadway is closed and traffic is backed up for at least five blocks. 


  • Northbound 2 trains are running on the 5 line from Nevins Street to 149th Street-Grand Concourse. 
  • Northbound 3 trains are running local from Times Square-42nd Street to 96th Street.
  • Northbound 3 trains are bypassing 72nd Street.
  • Northbound 5 trains are running local from Third Avenue-149th Street to East 180th Street. 



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<![CDATA[MTA Wants NYC Taxpayers to Pay Half of Subway Overhaul]]>Wed, 26 Jul 2017 21:00:49 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/MTA_Wants_NYC_Taxpayers_to_Pay_Half_of_Subway_Overhaul.jpg

The plan to fix the failing subway system will cost billions of dollars. Who's going to foot the bill? Rana Novini reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Take an Inside Look at the Penn Station Train Control Center]]>Tue, 25 Jul 2017 22:30:36 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/PENN+STATION+CONTROL+CENTER+11.jpgDuring its third week of major track reconstruction at Penn Station, Amtrak showed off its control center, promising that repairs would be completed by Sept. 1 and that the first rush hour would be business as usual.]]><![CDATA[Cuomo to Meet with US Transportation Chief Amid Transit Woes]]>Tue, 25 Jul 2017 19:43:57 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-492485479.jpg

Gov. Cuomo is headed to Washington to meet with U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao amid New York City's ongoing transit troubles.

A spokesman for Cuomo has confirmed Wednesday's meeting.

Some transit advocates have criticized Cuomo for not doing enough to maintain the city's subways and commuter rail lines.

The system has faced mounting derailments, breakdowns and delays in recent months. Summerlong repairs at Penn Station threaten to further disrupt suburban commuter trains and had prompted Cuomo to warn of a "summer of hell" for commuters.

The problems have brought about calls for greater federal transit funding, as well as finger pointing between Cuomo and Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over whether the city or state should be paying more to fix the system.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Community Talks With Lawmakers in Harlem About Transit]]>Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:47:05 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Community_Talks_With_Lawmakers_in_Harlem_About_Transit.jpg

Track fires, signal problems, derailments- dozens came to voice their concerns to politicians at a community forum in Harlem Saturday. Wale Aliyu reports.]]>
<![CDATA[NY Politicians in Blame Game Over Cause of Transit Woes]]>Fri, 21 Jul 2017 20:22:20 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NY_Politicians_in_Blame_Game_Over_Cause_of_Transit_Woes.jpg

Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo are in a back-and-forth after a week that began with a track fire and ended with yet another subway derailment. Melissa Russo reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Behind the Scenes Look at Amtrak’s Work at Penn]]>Fri, 21 Jul 2017 20:45:03 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/penn+station+work+amtrak.jpg

News 4 cameras go underground at Penn Station to get a look at the progress that's being made in the weekslong repair work that's forced commuter rails to cut back some schedules. Rana Novini reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Subway Train Derails in Brooklyn]]>Fri, 21 Jul 2017 17:18:46 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Subway_Train_Derails_in_Brooklyn.jpg

No one was hurt in a minor Q train derailment in Brooklyn Friday morning, the MTA says, but the subway derailment -- the second in less than a month -- is causing major service changes for riders on multiple lines. Erica Byfield reports.]]>
<![CDATA[I-Team: Amtrak High Speed Rail Project Moving Slowly]]>Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:31:54 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Amtrak_High_Speed_Rail_Project_Moving_Slowly.jpg

A plan to upgrade part of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor in order to accommodate high speed rail travel was supposed to be completed last month -- but the I-Team has learned the railroad operator is now projecting a finish date of November 2018. Chris Glorioso reports.]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Transit App Outage Causes Chaotic Commute]]>Thu, 20 Jul 2017 19:22:06 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NJ_Transit_App_Outage_Causes_Chaotic_Commute.jpg

A pregnant New Jersey Transit commuter says she was kicked off a bus Thursday morning because the ticket app wasn't working and the driver refused to let her board. Rana Novini reports.]]>
<![CDATA[PATH Problems in Newark]]>Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:37:59 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/PATH_Problems_in_Newark.jpg

Officials are attributing electrical issues to the delays and suspensions. Pat Battle reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Subway Delays, Disabled Metro-North Train Muck up Commute]]>Wed, 19 Jul 2017 19:11:21 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/subway+crowding+wednesday+credit+kiera+twitter1.jpg

Major subway delays wreaked havoc in Manhattan and Brooklyn amid stifling heat Wednesday evening. Meanwhile, hundreds of commuters were stuck on a disabled Metro-North train. Checkey Beckford reports.]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Transit, Union At Odds Over Cause of Canceled Trains]]>Wed, 19 Jul 2017 19:55:35 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nj+transit+update.jpg

New Jersey Transit is weighing whether it can pursue disciplinary action against train engineers after a manpower shortage forced dozens of ride cancellations this week amid summerlong track work at New York's Penn Station, an agency official told lawmakers Wednesday. Ida Siegal reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Cuomo Says LIRR Will Get Billions in Upgrades]]>Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:40:59 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Cuomo_Says_LIRR_Will_Get_Billions_in_Upgrades.jpg

Speaking to a meeting of the Long Island Association Wednesday, Gov. Cuomo said $5.6 billion in upgrades will transform the Long Island Rail Road and help make up for decades of neglect. Michael George reports.]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Transit Crew Shortage Cancels Some Trains]]>Tue, 18 Jul 2017 18:48:07 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NJ_Transit_Crew_Shortage_Cancels_Some_Trains.jpg

Commuters across the tri-state have heard all sorts of excuses for delays -- track work, power problems, derailments -- but New Jersey Transit riders now have a new one: manpower shortage. Ida Siegal reports.]]>
<![CDATA[MTA Has Plan to Reduce Trash on Subway Train Tracks]]>Tue, 18 Jul 2017 18:19:52 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/MTA_Has_Plan_to_Reduce_Trash_on_Subway_Train_Tracks.jpg

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota has laid out a plan to avoid a problem that crippled service for many this week. Marc Santia reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Subway Troubles Continue to Plague Riders]]>Mon, 17 Jul 2017 22:39:30 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Subway_Troubles_Continue_to_Plague_Riders_1200x675_1001988675763.jpg

At the height of the morning rush, a trash fire that spread to the tracks at 145th Street crippled subway service. Lori Bordonaro reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Subway Track Fire Cripples Monday Morning Commute]]>Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:37:14 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/168+st+part1.jpgSubway riders had a rough Monday morning commute after a trash fire that spread to the tracks at 145th Street crippled service.

Photo Credit: @NatalieHBrito / Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Transit Delays Again Due to Amtrak Wire Problems]]>Sat, 15 Jul 2017 19:57:48 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NJ+TRANSIT+CHRISTIE.jpg

And the train pain continues.

New Jersey Transit trains are operating on or close to schedule in and out of New York Penn Station after facing up to 20-minute delays, blaming Amtrak overhead wire problems that were related to an earlier disruption.

NJ Transit 7240 train lost power and was disabled due to Amtrak overhead power problems, and was towed into the station by 5:13 p.m., said Jim Smith, an NJ Transit spokesperson.

An estimated 600 people were on that train.

Hours earlier, New Jersey Transit alerted that trains in and out of New York Penn Station were subject to up to 30-minute delays due to a disabled Amtrak train in one of the Hudson River tunnels before resuming service again.

Amtrak train 98 from Miami to New York stalled as it was coming into the station, said Mike Tolbert, an Amtrak spokesperson.

An overhead line outside the station caused the disruption, he said.

Power was out for about an hour inside the train, but passengers were provided with snacks and water while waiting, said Tolbert.

There were no reported injuries.

Monday marked the start of a two-month overhaul of Penn Station's "Summer of Hell" infrastructure. Despite weeks of warnings, the disruptions have ended up being relatively minor and most commuters have had inconveniences kept to a minimum.

To see transit alternatives and the latest delay reports from Clever Commute, choose your line from the module below.



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<![CDATA[Amtrak Says So Far, Good During 1st Week of Repairs]]>Fri, 14 Jul 2017 18:49:08 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/penn+station+repair.jpg

So far, so good. Amtrak is calling its first week of summer-long track work at New York's Penn Station a success. Andrew Siff reports.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[I-Team: NJ Candidates for Governor Spar on Transit Woes]]>Fri, 14 Jul 2017 05:09:25 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/new+jersey+governor+candidates+spar.jpg

The front-running candidates to replace Gov. Chris Christie say they have solutions to cure the train pain suffered by New Jersey commuters this summer.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Republican candidate, said she would seek to audit New Jersey Transit and other transportation agencies to find cash and resources that should be dedicated to making the trains run on time. She also favors requiring transportation employees to re-apply for their jobs if labor contracts permit.

“I would fire everybody who is there. Accept their resignations – all those we are allowed to - and ask them to re-apply for their jobs,” Guadagno said. “I think all of us can come up with an idea where we’ve said what are we paying for and why are they standing around?”

Phil Murphy, the Democrat, questioned how effective such an audit would be – especially since Guadagno and Christie have already had years to find efficiencies in Trenton and appoint key transportation personnel.

“The governor and the lieutenant governor have presided over those appointments in the state for seven and a half years,” Murphy said. “I’ll let them answer for that.”

Murphy, a former U.S. Ambassador to Germany and investment banker, told the I-Team he would consider new taxes dedicated to mass transit in order to stabilize crumbling rail infrastructure. But he also suggested the working class should be shielded from any new taxes.

"You’ve got to look at every available alternative. Everything’s got to be on the table,” Murphy said. “But you have to abide by a tax fairness principle and the middle class has been hollowed out and beaten up."

When asked if she would consider a tax dedicated to funding trains, Guadagno bristled at the idea.

“If you want to find a distinction between myself and my opponent, that’s it,” Guadagno said. “I have pledged not to raise taxes on the most taxed people in this country.”

Though the pair of gubernatorial hopefuls differ on many transit related issues, one area of agreement is the idea of selling development rights for land adjacent to train stations. Both Guadagno and Murphy told the I-Team they believe needed revenue could be raised by building residential buildings and retail storefronts clustered around NJ Transit stations.

“They created an entire transit hub around New Brunswick through a private-public partnership that is explosive in terms of economic development and quality of life for the community,“ Guadagno said. “These kinds of things could be done all over the state and should be done.”

Murphy suggested NJ Transit could find much-needed cash by selling rights to build residential and retail development on its parking lots.

“A lot of the reason the development is held back is for parking spaces,” Murphy said.

“Millenials increasingly are not interested in driving a car. They want to walk to work or take commuter rail or a bus.”

Murphy and Guadagno also share support for the Gateway Project train tunnel under the Hudson River. The new tunnel would ease congestion for interstate and commuter trains crossing from New Jersey into New York’s Penn Station.

When asked whether Christie made a mistake in blocking the ARC tunnel project in 2010, Murphy said yes.

“He got it wrong at an Olympic level. I’m going to argue it could be the biggest public policy blunder in the modern history of this state.”

Guadagno said she’s not sure whether she would have made the same decision Christie did.

“Given what we know, it’s hard to say. Right now we know we need another tunnel, everybody knows that. But we could not have anticipated in 2010 Sandy, which took out a tunnel and half of Lower Manhattan. But I know now we need to plan for the worst.”

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<![CDATA[I-Team: Solutions for the Commuter Crisis in NJ]]>Fri, 14 Jul 2017 05:08:47 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/I_Team_Solutions_for_the_Commuter_Crisis_in_NJ.jpg

Governor contenders offer different solutions for the commuter crisis. Chris Glorioso reports.]]>
<![CDATA[I-Team: London's Buses Beat New York's]]>Wed, 12 Jul 2017 19:59:05 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/I_Team_Comparing_London_Transit_to_MTA.jpg

London's buses are reliable, even if the traffic is bad. Ticketless boarding and the size of London's double-decker buses help the transit system run more efficiently. There are also twice as many buses as in New York. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Second Avenue Subway Swelters]]>Wed, 12 Jul 2017 17:37:00 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Second_Avenue_Subway_Swelters.jpg

Straphangers have noticed in recent weeks that New York City's newest subway stations -- the ones the MTA said would be state-of-the-art and climate-controlled -- are actually very, very hot. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[LIRR Releases New Park-Ride Service Plan After Lack of Use]]>Wed, 12 Jul 2017 11:08:16 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/park+and+ride+lots.jpg

The Long Island Rail Road has released its plan detailing its scaled-back bus service for commuters during the summer renovation work at Penn Station. 

News 4 first reported Wednesday that the park-and-ride bus service, which was being offered to LIRR commuters as an alternative means of getting to Manhattan during the eight-week infrastructure improvement at Penn Station, would be cut back because it was being underutilized. 

Effective Thursday, July 13, park-and-ride bus service will no longer be offered at the following stations:

• North Hempstead Beach Park (Alternative PNR: Nassau Coliseum)

• Roosevelt Field Mall (Alternative PNR: Nassau Coliseum)

• Bethpage State Park (Alternatives PNRs: Melville or Seaford Kiss & Ride)

Five alternative park-and-ride lots will remain in place for LIRR commuters: Melville, Nassau Coliseum, Seaford (Kiss & Ride only), Valley Stream and Belmont Racetrack. 

Buses will depart every half-hour between 6 and 9 a.m. and drop off first on the east side at 34th Street and 3rd Avenue, with a second stop on the west side at Penn Station (34th Street bteween 7th and 8th avenues).

In the evening, bus service will return to the park-and-ride lots every half-hour between 3 and 7 p.m., picking up first on the west side of Penn Station, and then picking up on the east side at 34th Street between Lexington and 3rd avenues. 

Full schedules are available at LIRRSummerSchedule.com

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota told News 4 Wednesday, "So far, based on two days of voting, the people have voted they would much prefer the other approaches than the buses, so common sense would just require us to scale it back." 

Meanwhile, ferries offered to LIRR riders from Glen Cove were also being underutilized, though there was some slight pick-up on Tuesday. Lhota says the MTA plans to do some more marketing around the ferry service.

The work at Penn Station was initially scheduled for nights and weekends over a few years, but recent derailments and other problems that spotlighted the station's aging infrastructure convinced Amtrak to accelerate the schedule.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Careful Planning Helped Prevent Commuter Gridlock: Cuomo]]>Wed, 12 Jul 2017 00:30:17 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cms863.jpg

Gov. Cuomo says careful planning has helped to prevent the predicted commuter gridlock that prompted him to dub this the "summer of hell."

At an event in Schenectady on Tuesday Cuomo said "the reports are all good."

Several hundred thousand commuters on the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit are facing fewer trains during peak periods, the result of track closures in Penn Station.

Amtrak on Monday started extensive repairs at the nation's business train station following recent derailments and other problems that spotlighted the station's aging infrastructure.

So far, there have been no major problems.

The work is scheduled to last through the end of August.

On Day 1, there was some confusion, a bit of overcrowding and slow going at times, but no real debacles. Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman said Monday he was afraid people might get complacent after a relatively smooth first day for commuters. But 24 hours after the start of the project, all appeared okay -- for now.

Apart from some minor LIRR delays related to equipment trouble, transit Twitter accounts were pretty quiet Tuesday, the second rush since Amtrak started its dreaded overhaul of Penn. 

Meanwhile, park-and-ride service was being so underutilized by LIRR riders that the MTA plans to scale it back, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[GOP Lawmaker Pushes $900M for NY, NJ Railroad Infrastructure]]>Wed, 12 Jul 2017 00:32:42 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/hudson+river+tunnel+infrastructure.jpg

A huge railroad and transit project to build new bridge and tunnel capacity for travel between New York and New Jersey would receive a whopping $900 million next year if a senior New Jersey Republican has his way.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen is moving to boost the New York and New Jersey Gateway project in large part by eliminating a popular $500 million infrastructure grant program championed by former President Obama. That program funded transportation projects nationwide, including set-asides for rural areas.

Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., also would earmark $400 million in mass transit grants toward a new tunnel under the Hudson River to service Amtrak and a New Jersey commuter rail line.

The money is contained in a $56.5 billion transportation and housing funding bill that advanced by voice vote through an appropriations subcommittee Tuesday evening. It's one of 12 long-overdue spending bills that Frelinghuysen and other lawmakers are working to advance, despite intra-GOP quarreling and a dysfunctional budget climate in Washington.

The move by the 12-term Republican is reminiscent of pork barrel politics of the recent past, when powerful lawmakers like Sen. Robert Byrd used the annual appropriations bills that fund the government to move billions of dollars into their states.

Frelinghuysen faces challenges from the right with a potential primary and on the left from Democrats in his bid for another term next year in a competitive north-central New Jersey district. It's his first potentially competitive election cycle since entering Congress in 1995.

"Rebuilding the Hudson Tunnels is of vital importance to my home state of New Jersey and our region," Frelinghuysen said in a statement confirming the $900 million set-aside. "New Jersey residents have been plagued by perpetual delays and decaying infrastructure."

The move by Frelinghuysen may receive its strongest backing from powerful Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York.

"The No. 1 infrastructure project in all of America is the Gateway project," Schumer said on Monday. But elimination of the Obama-sponsored TIGER grant program, which was created by the 2009 economic stimulus measure but has won bipartisan support since, is likely to face opposition in the Senate.

"Look, I don't want to rob Peter to pay Paul," Schumer said Tuesday. "We need money for Gateway but we need money for TIGER as well."

The Gateway project would construct two new rail tunnels under the Hudson River and rebuild a bridge over New Jersey's Hackensack River. All told, it's expected to cost $20 billion. The project would replace aging tunnels that are nearing obsolescence.

The tunnels, and a new bridge over New Jersey's Hackensack River to replace a century-old span, are the first phase of the Gateway program, an ambitious effort to improve rail capacity on the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston and specifically around New York's Penn Station, the nation's busiest train station.

The Northeast Corridor around Penn Station has been beset by problems in the last few months. Two derailments, a power failure, signal problems and other issues at Penn Station pushed Amtrak to begin a major two-month overhaul project Monday to replace aging tracks and other equipment that have caused numerous delays for commuters.

The measure rejects almost $10 billion in program cuts proposed by President Donald Trump in his unpopular May budget, restoring almost $3 billion for community development projects and a $150 million appropriation to subsidize money-losing air service to rural airports, among other programs.

"While simply funding these programs represents a rebuke of the Trump administration, we should not use the draconian Trump budget as a baseline for anything other than a warped vision of America," said Rep. David Price, D-N.C.

Later Tuesday, Frelinghuysen unveiled a homeland security funding measure that included Trump's full $1.6 billion request to begin construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, along with funding for 500 additional border patrol agents and 1,000 additional immigration agents and customs officers.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[What the Subway Could Learn From London's Underground]]>Tue, 11 Jul 2017 18:59:43 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/What_the_Subway_Could_Learn_From_London_s_Underground.jpg

Despite being decades older than the New York subway system, the London underground has contact-less metro cards, platform screen doors, and no doors between the train cars. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Transit Commuters Work Around 'Summer of Hell']]>Tue, 11 Jul 2017 18:43:38 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NJ_Transit_Commuters_Work_Around__Summer_of_Hell_.jpg

New Jersey residents are making adjustments to their commutes and lives as they get used to eight weeks of NJ Transit service changes. Brian Thompson reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Penn Station Overhaul Hurting Businesses]]>Tue, 11 Jul 2017 18:03:32 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Penn_Station_Overhaul_Hurting_Businesses.jpg

On day 2 of the 'summer of hell' Penn overhaul, Andrew Siff talks with Penn Station businesses that say the construction is taking a bite out of their bottom lines.]]>
<![CDATA[LIRR to Scale Back Park-Ride Bus Service for Commuters]]>Wed, 12 Jul 2017 10:35:39 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BYFIELD+TRAIN+PAIN+FERRY+LI+PKG+430++-+16203013_WNBC_0000000169.jpg

UPDATE: LIRR Releases New Park-Ride Service Plan; 3 Lots Cut

The MTA is scaling back its bus plan for Long Island Rail Road riders during the summer renovation work at Penn Station, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota tells News 4.

A network of 200 park-and-ride buses was being offered to LIRR commuters affected by the eight-week infrastructure improvement project, which is taking three of 21 tracks out of commission at Penn Station through Labor Day. 

But the lots have been underutilized, Lhota says, and the service will be scaled back beginning next week. Details will be released once officials analyze how many people are using specific lots over the next few days. 

LIRR will look at the lots with the least number of riders over the course of the week, as well as the ones furthest away from the Long Island Expressway, Lhota said.  

Park-and-ride service will continue as scheduled for Wednesday morning's commute, but the scaleback could start sooner than Monday, depending on data analysis. 

"So far, based on two days of voting, the people have voted they would much prefer the other approaches than the buses, so common sense would just require us to scale it back," Lhota told News 4 over the phone. 

Meanwhile, ferries offered to LIRR riders from Glen Cove were also being underutilized, though there was some slight pick-up on Tuesday. Lhota says the MTA plans to do some more marketing around the ferry service. 

Many of the LIRR customers who normally go into Penn Station again took the train to Atlantic Terminal on Day 2, according to Lhota. There was, as predicted, a "huge increase" of LIRR customers going to Atlantic Terminal, and some crowding issues along with it, Lhota said, but overall, "things were better than yesterday," he said. 

On Day 1, there was some confusion, a bit of overcrowding and slow going at times, but no real debacles, either. Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman said Monday he was afraid people might get complacent after a relatively smooth first day for commuters. But 24 hours after the start of the project, all appeared okay -- for now.

The work at Penn Station was initially scheduled for nights and weekends over a few years, but recent derailments and other problems that spotlighted the station's aging infrastructure convinced Amtrak to accelerate the schedule.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Day 2 of 'Summer of Hell' Starts Smoothly]]>Tue, 11 Jul 2017 18:45:47 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Crowded+LIRR+Subway+change.jpg

The second day of the "summer of hell" appears to be off to a smooth start, with no apparent issues during the peak morning rush.

Apart from some minor Long Island Rail Road delays related to equipment trouble, transit Twitter accounts were pretty quiet Tuesday, the second morning rush since Amtrak started its dreaded overhaul of New York Penn Station.

Three of 21 tracks operated by Amtrak are out of service at Penn Station as part of the eight-week infrastructure improvement. Amtrak first announced its summer overhaul plan in April, giving New Jersey Transit and the LIRR, which use the tracks owned and operated by Amtrak, months to prepare their hundreds of thousands of customers who would be affected by the work.  

Many of the LIRR customers who normally go into Penn Station again took the train to Atlantic Terminal on Day 2, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota told News 4. There was, as predicted, a "huge increase" of LIRR customers going to Atlantic Terminal, and some crowding issues along with it, Lhota said, but overall, "things were better than yesterday," he said. 

Meanwhile, park-and-ride service was being so underutilized by LIRR riders that the MTA plans to scale it back, Lhota said. 

On Day 1, there was some confusion, a bit of overcrowding and slow going at times, but no real debacles. Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman said Monday he was afraid people might get complacent after a relatively smooth first day for commuters. But 24 hours after the start of the project, all appeared okay -- for now.

The repair work, which is expected to last until early September, has the potential to cripple the commute for thousands of NJ Transit and LIRR riders with a simple switch problem or mechanical breakdown. Thousands more commuters than usual were reported at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and Hunterspoint Avenue station in Queens, as well as at the Hoboken PATH station.

NJ Transit says 12,500 additional customers were reported in Hoboken compared with an average weekday. That includes 8,700 riders on the Morris Essex line that now ends at Hoboken instead of coming straight into Penn. The agency said customers flooding to only one of the two PATH entrances caused extra congestion. Riders are urged to take advantage of both.

Port Authority workers were seen at Hoboken checking NJ Transit tickets, which remain cross-honored at PATH stations. Times between trains are being reduced from 7 to 5 minutes to accommodate riders. 

Despite the relatively smooth first day, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota is still urging commuters to check out alternatives such as buses and ferries that he says were underutilized Monday. The MTA will evaluate the number of buses being used and adjust accordingly. 

The work at Penn Station was initially scheduled for nights and weekends over a few years, but recent derailments and other problems that spotlighted the station's aging infrastructure convinced Amtrak to accelerate the schedule.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: AP/Mark Lennihan]]>
<![CDATA[London Has a Leg up on NYC When It Comes to Transit]]>Mon, 10 Jul 2017 21:57:37 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/London_Has_a_Leg_up_on_NYC_When_It_Comes_to_Transit.jpg

London has modern signals on half of its 10 lines. That means trains arrive more often compared to New York. There are 29 trains per hour on New York's busiest line versus London's 36 trains per hour on its busiest. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[LIRR Commuters Trade Trains for Ferries]]>Mon, 10 Jul 2017 21:14:10 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/LIRR_Commuters_Trade_Trains_for_Ferries.jpg

Long Island residents are well-versed in the pain of getting into the city. That's why some of them hit the water and took a ferry from Glen Cove to 34th Street in Manhattan. They said there was plenty of room and that it was on time. Erica Byfield reports.]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Transit Riders Flood Path, NY Waterway]]>Mon, 10 Jul 2017 22:20:03 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/hoboken+terminal1.jpg

The "summer of hell" kicked off without any major issues for commuters heading to and from New Jersey on Monday. One chokepoint was in Hoboken, where thousands of NJ Transit commuters converged on PATH and NY Waterway. Brian Thompson reports.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[PATH Preps for Crush of NJ Transit Commuters]]>Mon, 10 Jul 2017 21:22:00 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/PATH_Preps_for_Crush_of_NJ_Transit_Commuters.jpg

Many NJ Transit commuters headed to the PATH to get back to Hoboken on Monday evening. Riders told News 4 that it was worth the extra time if it meant avoiding Penn Station crowds. Checkey Beckford reports.]]>
<![CDATA[1st Day of 'Summer of Hell' is Relatively Pain Free]]>Mon, 10 Jul 2017 20:59:23 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/1st_Day_of__Summer_of_Hell__is_Relatively_Pain_Free.jpg

As major repairs started at Penn Station, commuters were bracing for a 'summer of hell.' Most riders said Monday evening that the day had been relatively uneventful, although it's unclear if that will hold for the next eight weeks. Stefan Holt reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Major Repairs Underway Beneath Penn Station]]>Mon, 10 Jul 2017 20:58:21 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Major_Repairs_Underway_Beneath_Penn_Station.jpg

Amtrak crews began eight weeks of repairs at Penn Station on Monday. "They are taking everything out and putting all new in," Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman said. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[NY Waterway Underused on 1st Day of 'Summer of Hell']]>Mon, 10 Jul 2017 20:56:34 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NY_Waterway_Underused_on_1st_Day_of__Summer_of_Hell_.jpg

NJ Transit commuters were able to hop aboard NY Waterway ferries, which appeared to be an underutilized option on Monday. Chris Glorioso reports.]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 4 New York Rides Along With LIRR Traveler]]>Mon, 10 Jul 2017 23:17:01 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NBC_4_New_York_Rides_Along_With_NJT_Traveler.jpg

NBC 4 New York's Pei-Sze Cheng rode along with a LIRR traveler on the first day of the 'summer of hell'.]]>
<![CDATA['Summer of Hell' off to Smooth Start: Riders]]>Tue, 11 Jul 2017 00:57:51 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/hoboken+terminal1.jpg

Commuters handled Monday's first day of extensive repair work at Penn Station without any major issues, and Amtrak's CEO said the eight-week timeframe for the extensive repairs holds. 

Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman said he was confident that the advanced notice helped commuters deal with their commutes. He also said three of the 21 tracks at Penn Station — tracks 12, 13 and 21 — will be out for the summer as crews work to rip out and replace everything in the tangled "spaghetti like" interlocking down to the concrete. 

But Moorman did say he was afraid people might get complacent after a relatively smooth first day of what Gov. Cuomo termed the "summer of hell" for commuters. There was some confusion, a bit of overcrowding and some delays at the start of what figures to be an arduous two-month period. 

On Monday evening, people waited in a line that was out the door at Port Authority Bus Terminal, and some commuters said there was an air of confusion as people got used to the new routine. But many reported a commute that wasn't much different than normal. Those who took advantage of alternative modes of transportation — like ferries put in place for LIRR and NJ Transit commuters — described their trip as a relatively pleasant experience. 

Still, chokepoints formed at places like Hoboken Terminal, where extra ferries, buses and PATH trains took on thousands of extra passengers. 

An NJ Transit spokeswoman says 12,500 additional customers compared with an average weekday were expected to pass through Hoboken for the evening commute; that includes 8,700 riders on the diverted Morris and Essex line plus 3,800 who took the last early trains direct to New York Penn Station in the morning -- an option that does not exist for riders in the evening hours.

Spokeswoman Nancy Snyder said the four early-morning Morris and Essex line trains direct to Penn saw double their usual ridership, and that Hoboken saw 219 percent more Morris and Essex customers between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Monday -- from the 3,950 on an average weekday to 12,622.

Customers didn't have too many complaints on the first leg of their commutes, but one did stand out: overcrowding at the Hoboken PATH station. PATH said it cross-honored more than 9,000 NJ Transit riders between 6 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Monday.

NJ Transit said earlier in the day customers flooding to only one of the two PATH entrances caused extra congestion. Riders are urged to take advantage of both as they brace for the first evening rush since Amtrak's eight-week overhaul of New York's Penn Station began.

The work at Penn Station was initially scheduled for nights and weekends over a few years, but two recent derailments and other problems that spotlighted the station's aging infrastructure convinced Amtrak to accelerate the schedule.

Monday morning's rush began with no unusually large crowds and without any apparent major problems (though a minor garbage fire at Penn Station that spewed smoke into the LIRR concourse briefly sparked some Twitter concern).

The Long Island Rail Road's eight park-and-ride stops appear to be a potential breaking point, though, with two of them nearly full by 6:45 a.m. and one of those totally full by 8:30 a.m., the MTA tweeted. The park-and-rides were implemented as one alternative for LIRR riders needing to get to Penn.

The ferry alternatives for LIRR riders were smooth -- two hours for a trip from Glen Cove to Manhattan, and for some, a "no-brainer." But as organized as it was, it wasn't very popular: early estimates indicate a little more than 100 people took the two morning ferries from Glen Cove to the city.

For commuters on NJ Transit and the LIRR — as well as Amtrak passengers who ride between Boston and Washington, D.C. — the Penn Station work means fewer trains during peak periods.

The station handles about 1,300 daily train movements. Roughly 600,000 people pass through each day on the three railroads and on New York City subways.

At a press conference from Penn Station on Monday evening, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota told commuters to "check out all the alternatives," like the ferry from Glen Cove, which he said was not used as much as had been predicted. He said the buses were also underutilized and that the MTA will evalute the number of buses being used and adjust accordingly.

Overall, Lhota said the Monday evening commute "is going fine" and "nothing is delayed."

"I wish I had some wood to knock on, but it's a good feeling," he said.

Penn Station, which Amtrak took over in the 1970s, handles twice as many daily train movements, about 1,300, as it did then. Roughly 600,000 people pass through each day on trains and New York City subways.

"We like to think it's quiet because a lot of people did their homework," NJ Transit spokesman Charles Ingoglia said while standing outside the Hoboken train and ferry stations earlier Monday.

Ingoglia declared the morning commute a success, but said there was room for improvement, including directing people to a less crowded PATH entrance.

"We're pleased with what we saw," he said. "Our customers seem to have done their homework."

Service has been stepped up by trains, buses and ferries in anticipation of the busier commute. PATH trains were running every 5 minutes out of Hoboken rather than the usual 7-minute interval and additional NJ Transit buses were running from Hoboken to Manhattan as well.

Still, the real test for the "new normal" won't come until the weather, equipment problems or police activity somewhere along the train line interrupts service.

"The measure is how good are you when things are bad," Ingoglia said.

When this summer's work is completed, rail riders will benefit from increased reliability from having up-to-date equipment in and around the station, but will still fall prey to other problems such as electrical wire failures in the tunnel between New York and New Jersey, and signal and track problems in northern New Jersey east of Newark.

Those problems will have to wait for the completion of the Gateway project, which plans to build a second rail tunnel under the Hudson River, repair damage in the existing tunnel from Sandy and make substantial improvements on the New Jersey side and in Penn Station.

That is expected to take at least another decade to complete, although federal funding for the project is in question after President Trump proposed changing a federal grant program that was supposed to be used for it.

The work is scheduled to last through the end of August. When it's completed, rail riders will benefit from increased reliability from the up-to-date equipment in and around the station, but could still fall prey to other problems, such as electrical wire failures in the tunnel between New York and New Jersey, and signal and track problems in northern New Jersey east of Newark.

Those problems will have to wait for the completion of the Gateway project, which calls for building a second rail tunnel under the Hudson River, repairing damage in the existing tunnel from 2012's Superstorm Sandy and making substantial improvements on the New Jersey side and in Penn Station.

That work is expected to take at least another decade to complete, although federal funding for the project is in question after President Donald Trump proposed changing a federal grant program that was supposed to be used for it.

Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Cory Booker called on the Trump administration to honor that commitment at a news conference near the spot on Manhattan's west side Monday where preliminary work has already begun.

Booker said it's time for Trump to "put up or shut up."

While Monday's commute had gone about as well as it could for most, the real test for the "new normal" won't come until the weather, equipment problems or police activity somewhere along the train line interrupts service.

"The measure is how good are you when things are bad," Ingoglia said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[What London Can Teach NYC About Doing Transit Right]]>Wed, 12 Jul 2017 22:54:57 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SIFF+SUBWAY+UNDERGROUND+RAW+2+note+-+4+channels+of+audio+-+1548.jpg

It moves 1.37 billion passengers a year over 250 miles of rails on a system that dates to the mid-19th century -- with an 85 percent customer satisfaction rating.

It's not the New York City subway system, though -- it's the London Underground, and some think it's the model for how a metropolitan commuter system ought to run. 

The quality of the subway system is very much on New Yorkers' minds with the "Summer of Hell" infrastructure repairs starting Monday and following a spate of massive delays in recent weeks. 

For the leaders of London's transit system, the answer to running an efficient system is clear. 

"I think firstly, it's about long-term investment," Mark Wild, the managing director of what Londoners affectionly call "the Tube," told News 4 New York. "The key in London is, over many years, maybe 20 to 25 years, having a very clear plan on the upgrades and really sticking to that plan."


Contrast that with NYC Transit, where conditons have gotten so bad that Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently declared a state of emergency and launched a lucrative contest to come up with solutions.

Stuck waiting on a train? Check out our new podcast, "Listen While You Wait."


In declaring the state of emergency, Cuomo likened the recent transit problems to a "heart attack" that happened after years of cholesterol buildup.

The state of the subway system "is wholly unacceptable," said Cuomo last month, citing decades of underinvestment, deferred maintenance and surging ridership.

As a stop-gap, the governor is adding $1 billion to the MTA capital plan for next year. It marks a drastic about-face from two years ago when he described the MTA's capital request as "bloated." 

News 4's Lauren Scala explains your commuting options, depending on how you travel. 

According to Kevin Ortiz, the MTA spokesman, several initiatives are in place to improve bus service. He said that expanding Select Bus Service will reduce dwell time at bus stops, and the new fare payment system will speed up boarding. The MTA will also monitor the bus schedule closer to mitigate tardiness, he said.

“We don’t have direct control of road conditions on city streets. We are continuing to collaborate with DOT and NYPD to prioritize bus service as they address traffic congestion, unauthorized vehicles in bus lanes, double parked cars, and other factors that have the most direct impact on bus speeds and service reliability,” Ortiz explained.

Looking for commute alternatives? Our tool will show you options by train line.

New Yorkers who find themselves in London concede that the Tube has the A train easily beat.

"As a New Yorker I don't like to admit when things are better in London, however the London Underground is cleaner and better sign-posted. I have to go with the London Underground," New York transplant Jaime Marks told News 4.


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<![CDATA[Things to Know: Will Penn Station Warnings Live Up to Hype?]]>Mon, 10 Jul 2017 03:53:05 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_16332661690793.jpg

Los Angeles' 2011 freeway closure, "Carmageddon," ended up being more karma than 'geddon. Seattle's recent highway viaduct closure, "Viadoom" - meh. Closer to home, the predicted nightmare stemming from the long-term partial closure of the Pulaski Skyway, a heavily traveled route to New York, failed to materialize.

We love apocalyptic predictions, it seems, particularly when it involves people trying to get from one place to another (and preferably when we are not those people).

Which brings us to the looming "summer of hell," the phrase coined by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to describe the two months of track repairs at New York's Penn Station, beginning Monday, that have train riders in New Jersey and Long Island fearing the worst.

Months of planning have preceded the track work as Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road have sought to prepare hundreds of thousands of daily commuters for reduced service and expected delays.

Will it pay off?

"It's going to take a few days for everybody to get used to the new schedules and figure out how they're going to commute," said Janna Chernetz, policy director for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign New Jersey, an advocacy group. "People might try different things, but ultimately people are going to figure it out. They have to. There might be people who get more creative about it, but you have to get to work."

Things to know:

___

WHAT IS HAPPENING AND WHY?

Two recent derailments and other problems that caused lengthy and lasting delays up and down the Northeast Corridor this spring prompted Amtrak, which owns Penn Station, to speed up repair work that was being performed on nights and weekends and was to continue for a few more years. Primarily, the work involves replacing "several thousand feet of track," according to Amtrak executive Scot Naparstek, and replacing switches in an area where tracks crisscross and head to different platforms.

The three railroads that use the station - Amtrak, the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit - are reducing service at peak periods during the repairs, which are expected to last until the end of August.

___

WHO WILL BE MOST AFFECTED?

On Long Island, pretty much everyone. The LIRR is adding extra cars to some rush-hour trains by canceling three overnight trains. Commuters are being urged to change to subway service in Jamaica, Queens, and at Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, near the Barclays Center arena, for the final leg into Manhattan. Both locations figure to experience overcrowding. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the LIRR, also is adding new bus and ferry service to accommodate overflow.

In New Jersey, the brunt of the pain will be borne by New Jersey Transit riders from the west, in Morris and Essex counties. Rush-hour trains from those areas will be diverted to Hoboken, for transfer to New York Waterway ferries or the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's PATH trains. Both NY Waterway and PATH will offer expanded service during the repairs.

___

WHAT WILL IT ACCOMPLISH?

If all goes according to plan, rail riders will benefit from increased reliability from having up-to-date equipment in and around the station. But that's where it ends, basically.

"I don't want to fool people that we're going to deliver 100 percent on-time performance," Naparstek said Friday. "We're not bringing a new station to Penn Station, we're not replacing all the infrastructure, but the infrastructure we touch this summer should be much more reliable than it was before the summer."

While the derailments had the most widespread effect and garnered the most attention, many of the problems behind the day-in, day-out indignities suffered by commuters will remain, such as wire problems in the station's tunnel during very hot or cold weather; train breakdowns; and track and signal problems outside the station, particularly in New Jersey between Newark and New York.

Those problems won't be adequately addressed until a new Hudson River tunnel is built and other improvements are made, which will take years.

___

NEW YORK ROAD WORK SUSPENSION

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that all non-emergency road construction work would be suspended from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. and that all lanes would be open on major roadways in the New York City area starting Sunday night.

The Democratic governor said these actions - along with other roadwork changes including the implementation of cashless tolling - would help with the Long Island Rail Road's bus service in and out of New York City by helping to clear major arteries, including the Long Island Expressway, the Grand Central Parkway, the Major Deegan Expressway and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: AP/File]]>
<![CDATA[Day of Reckoning for NY Rail Riders Arrives]]>Mon, 10 Jul 2017 15:13:55 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/lirr+lead.jpg

The rush hour commute into New York got off to a quiet start Monday as workers began two months of repairs at the country's busiest train station, a project that Gov. Andrew Cuomo predicted will make for a "summer of hell." 

The overhaul at Penn Station was initially scheduled for nights and weekends over a few years, but two recent derailments, and a third last week, among other problems, that spotlighted the station's aging infrastructure convinced Amtrak to accelerate the work. 

Monday morning's rush began with no unusually large crowds and without any apparent major problems (though a minor garbage fire at Penn Station that spewed smoke into the LIRR concourse briefly sparked some Twitter concern).

"So far, so good," David Peter Alan, with the transit advocacy group the Lackawanna Coalition, said at NJ Transit's Hoboken Terminal. "So far more smoothly than I expected. I expected a chaotic scene." 

He said that he was pleasantly surprised, but that the changes that diverted all of the trains on NJ Transit's Morris and Essex Line were stretching Hoboken's capacity to the limit. 

For several hundred thousand commuters on the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit — as well as Amtrak passengers who ride between Boston and Washington, D.C. — the Penn Station work means fewer trains during peak periods, the result of track closures to accommodate the repairs. 

Apart from crowding in Hoboken, the LIRR's eight park-and-ride stops appeared to be a potential breaking point, with two of them nearly full by 6:45 a.m. and one of those totally full by 8:30 a.m., the MTA tweeted. The park-and-rides were implemented as one alternative for LIRR riders needing to get to Penn.

Penn Station, which Amtrak took over in the 1970s, handles twice as many daily train movements, about 1,300, as it did then. Roughly 600,000 people pass through each day on trains and New York City subways. 

"We like to think it's quiet because a lot of people did their homework," New Jersey Transit spokesman Charles Ingoglia said while standing outside the Hoboken train and ferry stations. 

Ingoglia noted efforts his agency has made online and elsewhere to warn the public of the congestion that is expected when up to 16,000 commuters are added to the 23,000 people who usually flow through the Hoboken station each day. 

While the commute had gone about as well as it could for most, the halls leading from NJ Transit trains to PATH trains were packed for over an hour and some people seemed bewildered at their new routine. 

"A lot of confusion and too many people gathered in one space," said Lex Marshall, 35, of Morristown. "Everybody's just bumping into each other, pushing each other to get to their destination." 

Ingoglia said nearly all of the passengers getting off NJ Transit trains in Hoboken were flooding into the same PATH entrance, leaving a second one much less crowded. Customers should use the other entrance as well, he said.

At least one train, the 7:23 a.m. from Mount Olive to Hoboken, was overcrowded, Ingoglia said, adding that a multilevel train would replace it.

Service has been stepped up by trains, buses and ferries in anticipation of the busier commute. PATH trains were running every 5 minutes out of Hoboken rather than the usual 7-minute interval and additional NJ Transit buses were running from Hoboken to Manhattan as well. 

The work is scheduled to last through early September.

Still, the real test for the "new normal" won't come until the weather, equipment problems or police activity somewhere along the train line interrupts service. 

"The measure is how good are you when things are bad," Ingoglia said. 

When this summer's work is completed, rail riders will benefit from increased reliability from having up-to-date equipment in and around the station, but will still fall prey to other problems such as electrical wire failures in the tunnel between New York and New Jersey, and signal and track problems in northern New Jersey east of Newark. 

Those problems will have to wait for the completion of the Gateway project, which plans to build a second rail tunnel under the Hudson River, repair damage in the existing tunnel from Sandy and make substantial improvements on the New Jersey side and in Penn Station. 

That is expected to take at least another decade to complete, although federal funding for the project is in question after President Trump proposed changing a federal grant program that was supposed to be used for it.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: @dr_arora_derm/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[How Did We Get Here: A History of Tri-State Train Pain]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 09:24:16 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/rescue+train+lirr.jpg

You know it's coming -- you've known for months it was coming -- but that doesn't make it any better. The "Summer of Hell" is upon us. 

Commuters in the tri-state area will feel even more train pain than usual when the long-awaited Amtrak repair work at New York Penn Station kicks off on July 10.

Some train lines will be canceled, others rerouted and many will face delays. 

With so much work to be done, many are wondering, how did we get here? It's a complicated history of government bailouts, mismatched infrastructure and a culture of leaving repairs until there's no choice anymore.

Amtrak, which controls Penn Station, was created in 1971 to rescue a failing private rail system and its already aging infrastructure. Rail carriers were losing business to planes and automobiles and government intervention was the only answer.

Amtrak is categorized as quasi-public and receives grants through the federal government. However the grant amounts change yearly, and funding is sometimes cut.

Federal funding cuts do not just affect Amtrak, they also affect local transit providers like NJ Transit and New York's MTA.

For example, there is the long-awaited Gateway Project to fix existing infrastructure in the tri-state area and create new tunnels under the Hudson River. Pre-construction work since 2012 cost over $300 million in federal funding, according to Amtrak, which is in charge of the project. (The project has been mired in controversy ever since Gov. Christie cancelled New Jersey's end of it in 2010.)

NJ Transit and the MTA have similar histories to Amtrak. The two regional agencies were created around the same time, and united once-private railways to improve service for the tri-state area.

Both regional service providers need billions of dollars in order to make improvements to their systems. According to the MTA captial budget, improving just subway the train signals will cost more than $3 billion.

These improvements are crucial, as ridership on mass transit is on the rise. The MTA reports weekly subway ridership alone is up from 5.2 million in 2012 to 5.6 million in 2016.

Even though their ridership on is the rise, the MTA is under pressure.

The subways, which are going to be more heavily relied upon during the Amtrak repair work, often have mechanical problems, including power outages and signal problems. There was also an A train derailment on June 27. These mechanical issues and derailments can cause massive delays.

No matter which station or provider you to turn to in the tri-state area, it seems that at least some Train Pain is certain.

Below is a timeline of some of the recent problems in our transit area.

March 24, 2017 - Amtrak train hits a NJ Transit train inside Penn Station.

April 3, 2017 - A second NJ Transit train derails, caused by a stray piece of wood.

April 14, 2017 - NJ Transit train with more than 1,000 people on board stalls in Hudson River Tunnel for 3 hours, causing widespread NJ Transit and Amtrak delays.

April 25, 2017 - An Amtrak train stalled during the morning commute, leading to 45 minute delays for many NJ Transit commuters.

May 8, 2017 - Signal problems in an East River Tunnel cause LIRR delays and cancellations.

June 1, 2017 - Amtrak power outages cause massive LIRR delays.

June 8, 2017 - Report comes out indicating LIRR delays are worst in 10 years.

June 27, 2017 - Subway A train derailment. Massive delays followed.

June 29, 2017 - Track problem outside Amtrak’s East River tunnel stranded a LIRR train, causing morning commute delays.

June 29, 2017 - Gov. Cuomo declares MTA state of emergency.

June 29, 2017 - Evening Westbound LIRR service to Penn Station was suspended due to a power problem. 12 of 21 tracks at Penn were affected.

July 7, 2017 - NJ Transit train derails in the Hudson River Tunnel just before 9 p.m. with 180 on board.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Nightmarish Commute Anticipated Monday]]>Sun, 09 Jul 2017 18:25:15 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Nightmarish_Commute_Anticipated_Monday.jpg

Expect crowds as more people will have to board fewer trains during peak hours starting Monday. Ida Siegal reports.]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Transit Riders Brace for 'Summer of Hell']]>Fri, 07 Jul 2017 22:37:16 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NJ_Transit_Riders_Brace_for__Summer_of_Hell_.jpg

After an NJ Transit train derailed Thursday night, commuters were getting ready for the weeks-long chaos ahead as Penn Station undergoes a major overhaul. Brian Thompson reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Commuters' Biggest Questions About 'Summer of Hell']]>Fri, 07 Jul 2017 22:18:53 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Commuters__Biggest_Questions_About__Summer_of_Hell_.jpg

On Monday, extensive track work begins at Penn Station. Lauren Scala answers questions from commuters about the Penn Station overhaul Gov. Cuomo said would cause a "summer of hell" for commuters.]]>
<![CDATA[PATH Preps for Load of Riders During 'Summer of Hell']]>Fri, 07 Jul 2017 22:10:32 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/PATH_Preps_for_Load_of_Riders_During__Summer_of_Hell_.jpg

PATH is getting ready for the crush of new passengers as Penn Station undergoes a months-long overhaul. Marc Santia reports.]]>
<![CDATA[LIRR Riders Plan for 'Summer of Hell']]>Fri, 07 Jul 2017 21:30:13 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/LIRR_Riders_Plan_for__Summer_of_Hell_.jpg

LIRR commuters are urged to prepare on how to get to work Monday morning as the Penn Station 'Summer of Hell' commences. Greg Cergol reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Penn Track Work Begins, 'Summer of Hell' Days Away]]>Fri, 07 Jul 2017 22:41:01 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/SPEC++MORE+TRAIN+DERAILMENT+PENN+STATION+UPDATE+GERBER+++-+0000.jpg

NJ Transit commuters packed Penn Station on Friday evening, as rail work was set to begin Friday night — the beginning of a two-month overhaul of the station. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.]]>
<![CDATA['Summer of Hell' Morning Commute Begins Monday]]>Sat, 08 Jul 2017 11:36:27 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/lirrcergol-web_WNBC_000000016948523.jpg

LIRR commuters are urged to prepare on how to get to work Monday morning as the Penn Station 'Summer of Hell' commences.

One could brave the train.

There will be a reduced number of trains still running to Penn Station, or you could use the LIRR to get to the subway in Brooklyn or Queens, which will work for a 25 percent discount.

"I'm going to carpool from there," said Brian Jarvis of Massapequa.

"I'm getting ready to say that I might have to work from home a little bit more," lamented Kerry Robinson of Huntington Station.

The ferry is another option.

"It's a great way to get to work. You sit back and head to the city," said Kareem Abraham, a ferry captain.

Ferries leaving Glen Cove for Wall Street and 34th Street already made tests runs Friday that took about an hour. The ferries can typically carry about 400 riders.

Mark Gallucci of Commack, still hasn't decided on his Monday plan.

His last option could be hopping a bus.

"Try to enjoy the weekend, forget about it and come Monday, I'm going to be very anxious about it," he suggested.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Transit Commuters Pack Penn Hours After Derailment]]>Fri, 07 Jul 2017 23:48:30 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nj+transit+penn+pei+sze.jpg

New Jersey Transit commuters and weekend travelers packed Penn Station on Friday evening hours after a train derailed at the station for the third time in less than four months. 

Many NJ Transit trains were on stand-by as the riders crowded together. NJ Transit said service in and out of Penn Station was subject to 30-minute delays during the evening rush because of congestion caused by a speed restriction in place due to ongoing Amtrak track work. 

Amtrak lifted a speed restriction Monday — allowing trains to go 15 mph instead of 10 mph — after track inspections and maintenance were completed ahead of an eight-week-long overhaul of Penn Station. It wasn't immediately known why they were put back in place on Friday. 

The crowded conditions were also caused by a train that had mechanical issues earlier Friday, an official said. The train was taken out of service, causing a ripple effect as other trains made more stops to make up for it. 

Earlier on Friday, NJ Transit said that minor "congestion-related delays" could result from Thursday night's derailment. 

On Thursday night, a North Jersey Coast Line train with nine cars was traveling in a Hudson River tunnel towards Penn Station when it was involved in a "minor" slow-speed derailment. It happened along Interlocking A, which is the focus of Amtrak's unprecedented summer repair project at Penn Station, set to begin Monday. 

About 180 passengers and crew members were on board. No injuries were reported, but service was suspended in and out of Penn for hours as authorities investigated.

Amtrak, which owns and operates the tracks, said in a statement early Friday crews had worked through the night to assess possible infrastructure damage and complete necessary repairs. Some minor "congestion-related delays" were expected. 

NJ Transit says it's working with Amtrak to determine the cause of the derailment. Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is calling for a full investigation into "all potential causes." 

"We will do everything possible to ensure that NJ Transit and Penn Station are safe," Christie said in a statement. 

While the three recent derailments happened along the same interlocking, they happened on three different tracks, indicating how widespread the wear and tear was, according to Amtrak COO Scot Naparstek. 

The busy Northeast Corridor around Penn Station has been beset by problems in the last few months, including two derailments, one involving an Acela March 24 and one involving an NJ Transit train two weeks later, a power failure, signal problems and other issues.

Gov. Cuomo said the Amtrak repair project, while badly needed at Penn Station, would create a "summer of hell" for commuters.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: NBC New York
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<![CDATA[Expectations Low, NYC Commuters Brace for 'Summer of Hell' ]]>Fri, 07 Jul 2017 04:25:48 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_17181599283383.jpg

A massive two-month repair project will launch Monday at the country's busiest train station, temporarily exacerbating the daily commuting struggle during what New York's governor has predicted will be a "summer of hell."

But it's only a stopgap measure against a root problem it won't solve: One of the world's great cities increasingly seems unable to effectively transport its workforce.

At Penn Station, crowds of commuters fuming at frequent afternoon delays already wedge into narrow stairways down to the tracks, all for the privilege of standing in the aisles of packed trains for a 45-minute ride home. In the mornings, it can take 10 minutes just to climb a flight of stairs to the concourse.

The summer's accelerated repair work, prompted by two derailments this spring, while a third happened Thursday night, will close some of the station's 21 tracks and require a roughly 20 percent reduction in the number of commuter trains coming in from New Jersey and Long Island. Amtrak also is reducing the number of trains it runs between New York and Washington and diverting some trains from Albany across town to Grand Central Terminal.

"We're all dreading it," said Maura McGloin, who commutes daily from Woodbridge, New Jersey, about 25 miles away. "I'd rather have my teeth pulled out."

Gov. Cuomo said in May that "it will be a summer of hell for commuters." Around the same time, he wrote a letter to President Donald Trump asking for federal help and appealing to Trump's New York roots.

Penn Station is just one symptom of a larger illness. With an aging subway system subject to a recent state-of-emergency order by Cuomo, and a 67-year-old bus terminal called "appalling" and "functionally obsolete" by officials of the agency that runs it, the New York area's transportation systems embody America's inability, or unwillingness, to address its aging infrastructure.

While Trump has talked of a $1 trillion infrastructure investment plan, it's short on details . Meanwhile, the Republican's budget proposes a change that could jeopardize federal funding for a key project to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey, seen as critical to the region's economic vitality.

Penn Station is a destination in itself, but it is also a hub for transfers, greeting about 600,000 passengers a day with low ceilings and dim lighting in what is essentially the basement of Madison Square Garden.

Commuter rail lines snake in from New Jersey to the west and Long Island to the east. Busy subway lines run through it, and it's the city's only Amtrak stop. Delays are common, and commuters often tweet photos with captions that can't be repeated here.

Amtrak owns and operates the station, as well as surrounding tracks and equipment. New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road have used Twitter to pin blame for delays on the government-owned railroad.

This spring, two minor derailments at the station caused major headaches.

One, caused by aging ties that allowed a track to split apart, closed eight tracks and disrupted service between Boston and Washington for four days. During a separate hourslong delay caused by a disabled train, police shocked an unruly person with a stun gun, leading to a stampede over fears of a shooting.

On Thursday night, there was another minor derailment at the station. No injuries were reported.

Rail commuters will suffer this summer's overcrowding and reduced service with the knowledge that the repairs won't add train capacity or eliminate problems like overhead wire failures in the tunnel that cause regular delays.

That won't happen until the completion of a $12.9 billion project to build a new Hudson River tunnel and overhaul the 107-year-old tunnel, damaged by 2012's Superstorm Sandy.

Amtrak officials have said its two tubes will need to be closed for repairs within the next 15 years, possibly sooner. Without a new tunnel, rail service would be reduced by an estimated 75 percent, from 24 trains to six during peak periods.

"New York City is basically this invention for creating human prosperity, and what makes it work is the access for the millions of people who live around the city," said Tom Wright, president of the Regional Plan Association, an urban planning think tank.

"Without these tunnels, without Penn Station bringing in hundreds of thousands of people from the east and west, New York can't continue to grow jobs," he said. "Without that connectivity, I really think we would see a national recession."

A 2014 report by the Federal Railroad Administration estimated that the loss of the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak's busiest line, for one day could cost nearly $100 million in impacts and productivity losses.

The tunnel project won an accelerated environmental permitting process under former President Barack Obama, and a preliminary report was released Thursday. Early construction wouldn't begin until late 2018, officials said, and that probably will depend on the federal government putting up half the money, as agreed to under Obama. But Trump's budget proposal recommends a change to a federal grant program that could jeopardize that funding.

The years of neglect are evident throughout the Northeast Corridor, connecting Washington, D.C., and Boston.

Amtrak says it has an $11.6 billion backlog for basic infrastructure projects - tracks, signals, electrical systems and more. That's on top of an estimated $26.5 billion in backlogged projects considered essential, a list that includes a new $4.5 billion tunnel in Baltimore to replace one that dates to the 1870s.

On the bright side, some other large-scale projects are pushing ahead.

A new, $4 billion Tappan Zee Bridge, a major Hudson River crossing north of the city, will open this year. And last fall, Cuomo announced plans for a long-delayed project to transform a historic post office near Penn Station into a new train hall by 2020 that should ease crowding. The plans also call for widened corridors and raised ceilings in Penn Station.

While not a final solution, this summer's Penn Station work should give commuters a measure of reliability.

"What commuters have every right to expect and should expect is that as we go through the next period of months, that we gradually take away some of the problems that have been causing delays in the station over the past number of years," Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman said this week.

Marybeth Tregarthen, 52, has commuted from Bay Shore, on Long Island, for about four years, and has found her own antidote to being stuck regularly at Penn Station.

"Sometimes I just jump on any train heading out of the city, even if it's not my branch," she said, "just to escape from New York."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Service Restored at NY Penn After 3rd Derailment in 4 Months]]>Fri, 07 Jul 2017 22:38:38 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SPEC++MORE+TRAIN+DERAILMENT+PENN+STATION+UPDATE+GERBER+++-+00001.jpg

New Jersey Transit says service is operating on or close to schedule Friday morning, hours after a train derailed at New York's Penn Station for the third time in less than four months. 

NJ Transit said one of its North Jersey Coast Line train with nine cars was traveling in a Hudson River tunnel towards Penn Station when it was involved in a "minor" slow-speed derailment around 9 p.m. Thursday. 

It happened along Interlocking A, which is the focus of Amtrak's unprecedented summer repair project at Penn Station, set to begin Monday. 

About 180 passengers and crew members were on board. No injuries were reported, but service was suspended in and out of Penn for hours as authorities investigated.

Amtrak, which owns and operates the tracks, said in a statement early Friday crews had worked through the night to assess possible infrastructure damage and complete necessary repairs. Some minor "congestion-related delays" were expected. 

NJ Transit says it's working with Amtrak to determine the cause of the derailment. Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is calling for a full investigation into "all potential causes." 

"We will do everything possible to ensure that NJ Transit and Penn Station are safe," Christie said in a statement. 

While the three recent derailments happened along the same interlocking, they happened on three different tracks, indicating how widespread the wear and tear was, according to Amtrak COO Scot Naparstek. 

The busy Northeast Corridor around Penn Station has been beset by problems in the last few months, including two derailments, one involving an Acela March 24 and one involving an NJ Transit train two weeks later, a power failure, signal problems and other issues.

Gov. Cuomo said the Amtrak repair project, while badly needed at Penn Station, would create a "summer of hell" for commuters.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Transit Service Suspended After Train Derails Near Penn]]>Fri, 07 Jul 2017 00:33:06 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC+11PM+AIRCHECK+M-Sun+-+23243408_WNBC_000000016935558.jpg

A train derailed in the Hudson River Tunnel. It is unclear if it will affect the morning commute. Checkey Beckford reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Train Derails Near Penn Station, Crippling Service]]>Fri, 07 Jul 2017 00:09:40 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/train+derails+penn+station+nj+transit2.jpg

A New Jersey Transit train derailed in a tunnel leading to Penn Station on Thursday night, crippling service in and out of the busy station. No injuries were reported. Checkey Beckford reports.]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Transit Train Derails at Penn; Limited Service Restored]]>Fri, 07 Jul 2017 04:28:11 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/train+derails+penn+station+nj+transit.jpg

New Jersey Transit says limited service has been restored in and out of Penn Station following an earlier train derailment at the nation's busiest train station. 

Service was suspended in and out of Penn Station Thursday night for several hours after a NJ Transit train derailed in a tunnel at 9:10 p.m., officials said.

NJ Transit said a North Jersey Coast Line train with nine cars was traveling in a Hudson River tunnel towards Penn Station when it derailed.


Officials said limited Northeast Corridor and New Jersey Coast Line service has been restored in and out of Penn Station with up to 90-minute delays.

About 180 passengers and crew members were on board the train at the time, but no injuries were been reported, according to officials. 

NJ Transit also said customers should expect delays for the morning rush due to "station congestion."

"I'm sitting on the train, all of the sudden we're going through the tunnel and it just jolts, and people are like pushed forward," Michelle Bove said.

"We weren't sure what was going on and we started backing up into the train station, and everyone's kind of like, 'What's going on? What's going on?'" Bove said, adding that people were "chaotically trying to get out of the train."

The train eventually returned to Penn Station, although it's unclear how it got there. Earlier in the night, fire officials said the FDNY was working with Amtrak crews to bring a rescue train for passengers.

But passengers told News 4 that crews were able to put the train back on the tracks. One passenger said officials tried different strategies before eventually placing the train on a different track. It was then sent back to New Jersey before returning to Penn Station.

“It seems like they were trying multiple tactics,” passenger Luke Uttaro said. “They basically shuttled everyone to the front of the train, then they shuttled us to the middle of the train, then they shuttled us to the back of the train.”

NJ Transit issued an alert saying train service was suspended in and out of Penn Station due to "a minor NJ Transit derailment." The agency said all Midtown Direct trains will be diverted to Hoboken. 

An announcement at Penn Station said service was canceled until further notice, and Amtrak said riders traveling between New York and New Jersey should expect extensive delays.

NJ Transit says it's working with Amtrak to determine the cause of the slow-speed derailment. 

Rail tickets will continue to be cross-honored with NJ Transit bus and private bus carriers, the agency said. PATH had discontinued its cross-honoring around 4:30 Friday morning. 

The MTA said the derailment did not affect Long Island Rail Road trains or subway service. 

Photos on social media show fire trucks outside Penn Station and firefighters inside the station. Video taken from a nearby building shows at least a half-dozen fire trucks parked in front of the station on Seventh Avenue.

The derailment comes less than a week before extensive trackwork is to be done at Penn Station in a months-long project Gov. Cuomo said would be a "summer of hell" for commuters.

The busy Northeast Corridor around Penn Station has been beset by problems in the last few months. Two derailments, a power failure, signal problems and other issues at Penn Station have pushed Amtrak to begin replacing aging tracks and other equipment and have caused numerous delays for commuters.

In early April, a minor NJ Transit derailment left eight of 21 tracks inoperable at Penn Station for days. Delayed and canceled trains wreaked havoc for hundreds of thousands of travelers and commuters in the tri-state. Less than two weeks before that derailment, an Amtrak train derailed and bumped into a NJ Transit train.

In mid-April an NJ Transit train with about 1,200 passengers became stuck in a Hudson River tunnel for nearly three hours. Tension escalated at an overcrowded Penn Station when police response to a belligerent man sparked a stampede. Since then, signal issues and power problems have caused repeated headaches for LIRR and NJ Transit commuters at the transit station, which is the busiest in the U.S.



Photo Credit: MikeHull11/Twitter and @Lukeauttaro/Twitter and @KhurramDara/Twitter
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Summer of Hell Days Away]]>Thu, 06 Jul 2017 19:11:01 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Summer_of_Hell_Days_Away.jpg

MTA said it's ready for the "Summer of Hell," but warns commuters of new routes. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Hudson Waterway Ferries to Get Crowded]]>Wed, 05 Jul 2017 20:25:51 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Hudson_Waterway_Ferries_to_Get_Crowded.jpg

Hudson ferries must be prepared to take on more passengers. Brian Thompson reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Amtrak to Divert Trains to Grand Central]]>Wed, 05 Jul 2017 20:23:38 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Amtrak_to_Divert_Trains_to_Grand_Central.jpg

One of the biggest changes is re-routing trains to Grand Central. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Listen While You Wait: A New Podcast for Commuters ]]>Wed, 05 Jul 2017 16:37:08 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/trainpainthumbnail.jpg

Feeling the Train Pain? NBC 4 New York's new podcast, hosted by Michael Gargiulo, explores public transit issues impacting NJ Transit, the LIRR, Amtrak and the MTA during what has been dubbed by Gov. Cuomo as the "summer of hell."

The major repair work at New York Penn Station has commuters bracing for massive delays, so go ahead and Listen While You Wait.



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<![CDATA[NJ Transit Considers Crowd Control During Penn Repairs]]>Mon, 03 Jul 2017 19:42:43 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/NJ_Transit_Considers_Crowd_Control_During_Penn_Repairs.jpg

Will officials at Penn Station use gates to control crowds during the overhaul of the station later this month? Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Just a Week Until Overhaul of Penn Station]]>Mon, 03 Jul 2017 19:43:31 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Just_a_Week_Until_Overhaul_of_Penn_Station.jpg

With just a week to go until an enormous renovation project at Penn Station, commuters are changing their schedules and getting mentally prepared. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[U2 Concertgoers Worry About Another Night of Transit Chaos]]>Thu, 29 Jun 2017 21:46:05 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/crowded+penn+station+nj+transit+u2+fans.jpg

After throngs of people packed Port Authority and Penn Station on their way to a U2 concert in New Jersey on Wednesday night, fans headed to Thursday’s concert hoped there wouldn’t be a repeat performance of the transit mess.

But Thursday’s rush out of Penn was already complicated by track conditions — 12 out of 21 tracks at the busy station were having power problems, leading to delays, cancellations and crowding.

Wednesday evening saw crowded stations and long lines at Port Authority and Penn Station before U2’s 7 p.m. show at MetLife Stadium.

Photos on social media show the two stations packed with concertgoers and commuters trying to get on buses and trains to New Jersey.

Several people said they waited more than an hour at Port Authority just to board an NJ Transit bus. Many concertgoers ended up late to the show as a result.

Transportation was running smoothly at Port Authority before U2’s second show Thursday. But the track problems at Penn were causing the all-too-familiar rush-hour frenzy — bad news for fans hoping to get to the show on time.


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<![CDATA[No Operator Chosen to Run Ferry During Penn Repairs]]>Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:24:46 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/No_Operator_Chosen_to_Run_Ferry_During_Penn_Repairs.jpg

LIRR commuters have been promised special ferry service from Glen Cove to the East Side of Manhattan to help ease their commute during the overhaul of Penn Station this summer, but there's one major problem with the plan. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Subway Rider Demands Change After Sweltering Trip]]>Mon, 26 Jun 2017 20:48:04 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Subway_Rider_Demands_Change_After_Sweltering_Trip.jpg

Michael Sciaraffo says the experience of being stuck on the packed F train for nearly an hour without any power, ventilation and communication made it clear change was needed. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[LIRR Deal for Summer of Hell Gets Mixed Reactions]]>Mon, 26 Jun 2017 19:26:09 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/LIRR_Deal_for_Summer_of_Hell_Gets_Mixed_Reactions.jpg

Some LIRR riders will get discounts during the overhaul of Penn Station this summer, but others won't. It depends on whether or not commuters are being diverted during the months of work. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.]]>
<![CDATA[LIRR Ticket Discount Debate]]>Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:21:02 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/LIRR_Ticket_Discount_Debate.jpg

Pei-Sze Cheng is in Hunter's Point, Queens with details on a train ticket deal that has some commuters rejoicing and other outraged.]]>
<![CDATA[Train Pain: Where the Money Is Going in the MTA]]>Fri, 23 Jun 2017 19:33:13 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Train_Pain_Where_the_Money_is_Going_in_the_MTA.jpg

The fare paid is only going to a part of the MTA budget. Andrew Siff reports.]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Transit Commuters Sound off Ahead of Penn Overhaul]]>Thu, 22 Jun 2017 21:36:07 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NJ_Transit_Commuters_Sound_off_Ahead_of_Penn_Overhaul.jpg]]><![CDATA[Cuomo Appoints Joe Lhota as MTA Chairman]]>Thu, 22 Jun 2017 07:08:31 -0400http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Cuomo_Appoints_Joe_Lhota_as_MTA_Chairman.jpg

Gov. Cuomo has chosen Joe Lhota as chairman of the MTA. Tracie Strahan reports.]]>
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