Penn Station train tracks fixed but not for morning commute

Posted April 08, 2017

On Wednesday, the governor ordered NJ Transit, which paid Amtrak $62 million for investments in the Northeast Corridor, to cease making payments to Amtrak until an independent investigation on the tracks is completed. Pointing out that Monday's derailment was the second such incident in two weeks, Christie adds, "These incidents raise serious questions about the condition of the tracks and other assets on the NEC [Northeast Corridor]".

The derailment has reawakened cries to push forward the Gateway project, a $20 billion infrastructure plan centered around constructing two new rail tunnels - and repairing the decaying 110-year-old existing tunnels - between New Jersey and NY.

Eight of the 21 tracks have been out of service since Monday morning, when a New Jersey Transit train derailed, causing cancellations and lengthy delays for travelers on Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road.

Amtrak's CEO is pushing back, saying that while he understands Governor Christie is frustrated, withholding money "is not going to solve any of the problems".

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Christie sent letters Thursday to Democratic Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, Republican Representatives Rodney Frelinghuysen and Frank LoBiondo and Democratic Rep. Albio Sires.

Santoro wants Amtrak to form a team of rail experts from NJ Transit, Amtrak and LIRR to "walk every inch of track" at Penn Station and perform an exhaustive inspection analysis of tracks and signals around the station.

Moorman revealed that weakened "timbers" - wooden rail ties that support the steel rails on top of them - were to blame for Monday's derailment.

Amtrak's $24 billion Gateway plan to build a new train tunnel under the Hudson River and fix the existing tunnel, is considered one of the most important infrastructure projects in the nation. Moorman made the remarks during a morning news conference outside Penn Station. I will also point out that New Jersey Transit to commit capital funding to Penn Station is very recent because of congressional legislation that was passed some years ago. Cross-honoring will still be in effect.

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A spokesman for the Long Island Rail Road says the transit agency has not yet determined its service plans for Friday.

A holiday schedule with some extra trains scheduled to help with crowds continued on Thursday. Plans for Friday's commute have not been announced. Full service is expected to resume on Friday.

"It's like that bridge thing in Philadelphia", he said, referring to a vehicle bridge connecting Pennsylvania and New Jersey where a crack was discovered in January that forced the bridge's closure for 1½ months.

To check the latest information, please visit amtrak.com.

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Commuters board a ferry bound for Lower Manhattan in Hoboken, N.J., Tuesday. However, there were widespread delays for commuters.