What to Know
Amtrak jointly announced the latest round of major track repairs at New York Penn Station
The latest round of work is also the last phase of repairs; It will not only impact Amtrak riders, but NJ Transit and LIRR clients as well
Equipment failures and much-needed upgrades have prompted the scheduled repairs
Amtrak announced the latest round of major track repairs at New York Penn Station that will impact NJ Transit and LIRR commuters in what could be reminiscent of 2017's "Summer of Hell" for some travelers, but at least one railroad says not to worry.
The latest round of work, also believed to be the last phase, will constitute the replacement of two underground interlocking which directs Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road and NJ TRANSIT trains heading east and west from the East River Tunnels. The work is believed that it will have a bigger effect on LIRR, but it will still bring major changes to the direct service of NJ Transit.
The total cost of the projects is estimated at $30 million. The work on JO Interlocking will occur between June 28, and Sept. 2.
This is not the first time rail commuters will face what is expected to be weeks of significant service disruptions during the summer to accommodate repairs at New York's Penn Station prompted by recent equipment failures and much-needed upgrades.
Train commuters into New York will have to brace, yet again, for another round of track repairs at Penn Station that will cause the cancellations and service changes — similar to 2017's "Summer of Hell" when Amtrak embarked on the accelerated repair schedule after two derailments and other problems highlighted the station's aging infrastructure.
That two-month summertime repair project targeted an area of the station fed by the Hudson River tunnel, where numerous tracks crisscross to feed into 21 platforms. The work was predicted to create a "summer of hell" for commuters by Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but the disruptions turned out to be not as dire as predicted.
Scroll to see how the repair work will impact local rail services:
NJ Transit announced its modified weekday schedule, which will take effect June 17 and continue through Sept. 6.
The NJ Transit changes include temporarily diverting select Midtown Direct rail service on the Montclair-Boonton Line (MOBO) and one North Jersey Coast Line (MJCL) train to Hoboken, in order to accommodate vital Amtrak repair work that will take two tracks at Penn Station New York out of service.
Other temporary NJ Transit service adjustments will include Morris & Essex Line (M&E) Midtown Direct trains no longer stopping at Newark Broad Street station during the morning and evening peak periods, and a limited number of Midtown Direct reverse-peak trains will operate from Hoboken.
“We weighed every option in order to impact the least number of customers while maintaining as many peak period seats as possible,” NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said in a statement.
“These service adjustments are never easy, but the necessary renewal work that is being performed by Amtrak is vital to the reliability of the system, especially in and out PSNY, which is of immense importance for NJ Transit and the region,” Corbett said.
NJ Transit suggests train and bus alternates for commuters who will be impacted by the service changes. For more information, click here.
LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said that, despite additional Amtrak work at Penn Station, Long Island Rail Road summer service levels will remain consistent with current levels.
Starting on May 20, a temporary break in Amtrak’s Penn Station state-of-good-repair trackwork will allow the restoration of 10 LIRR trains that were diverted or canceled in January as a result of Amtrak's continuing work at Penn Station.
Due to Amtrak’s repair work, the LIRR will divert or cancel seven of 144 morning rush trains and seven of 130 evening rush trains starting July 1, and running through Sept. 2. Five trains are being added on the edges of both morning and evening peak periods to provide affected customers with alternative options.
The LIRR is also planning on lengthening key trains to ensure that the overall seating capacity into Penn Station is in line with current capacity.
Changes also include: four morning peak trains to Penn Station will be diverted to Atlantic Terminal; one morning peak train to Penn Station will terminate in Jamaica, and two trains will not operate. In the evening rush, two trains will originate at Atlantic Terminal instead of Penn Station, two trains will originate at Jamaica instead of Penn Station; and three trains will not operate.
In both the morning and evening rush hours, stops will be added to trains as necessary to preserve service opportunities from diverted or cancelled trains, and cars will be added to lengthen select existing trains.
To help offset these changes and maintain maximum capacity, two trains will be added to Penn Station in the early morning rush, as well as three trains added in the early afternoon from Penn Station.
The MTA suggests customers check the final timetables on its website effective July 1.
Amtrak schedule adjustments during the scheduled rail work will include:
- Northeast Regional Train 110, operating from Washington, D.C. (WAS) to New York Penn Station (NYP), and 127 operating from NYP to WAS will be cancelled;
- Northbound Keystone Train 640 is terminating at Newark Penn Station (NWK);
- Southbound Keystone Train 643 is originating at NWK;
- Southbound Keystone Train 653 is departing NYP early;
- Cardinal Train 51 will depart NYP early on weekdays only;
- Maple Leaf Train 63 and Adirondack Train 69 will be combined on the regular time slot for 63 and will split at Albany (ALB).