This summer’s rail repairs have been a long time coming.
1. OLD INFRASTRUCTURE
According to Amtrak, much of the transit infrastructure in service at Penn Station today was built in the 1970s. At that time, the station was handling half the trains and a third of the customers it does today. That means there’s been much more stress put on the existing tracks than they were built to handle.
2. HURRICANE SANDY
Hurricane Sandy in 2012 didn’t help either. Salt water flooded the hundred-year-old rail tunnels connecting New York and New Jersey, corroding tracks and switchers.
3. RECENT DERAILMENTS
Recent transit problems have occurred at a place in New York Penn Station called “A Interlocking.” It’s the point where trains are switched onto one of 21 tracks on their way to station platforms. In March and April, two derailments at Penn Station highlighted the dangerous conditions caused by aging tracks and switches at A Interlocking. In response, Amtrak decided to expedite badly needed renewal work, compressing several years of planned repairs into a short, intense period over several weeks this summer.
Repairs are scheduled for completion in early September, but that won’t be the end of the region’s transit woes. The next major infrastructure project still on the backlog is a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River, a massive undertaking with a possible $13 billion price tag.
HOW LONG WILL THIS LAST?
Extensive work for the Amtrak project will start during the weekdays of July and August. Amtrak and other rails will be operating on a modified schedule from July 10 through Sept 1. The project is estimated to continue through 2018 and Amtrak will provide a more accurate date in the next upcoming weeks.
HOW IS MY COMMUTE CHANGING?
We’ve compiled a list of service changes to help you stay on top of how your commute is changing.