What to Know
- The "summer of hell" of repairs at Penn Station is ahead of schedule two weeks ahead of Amtrak's deadline
- Amtrak's COO said he expects full service to return to the station by Sept. 5, the day after Labor Day
- Earlier this month, an Amtrak official told News 4 that "we will certainly be" asking for more repairs at the station
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.