Federal rail agency agrees Penn Station work urgently needed

Federal rail agency agrees Penn Station work urgently needed

Following the announcement last week that Amtrak will likely shutter some tracks at Penn Station for a total of 44 days this summer, the CEO of the corporation is saying that more trouble likely lies ahead.

A phone message seeking comment from NJ Transit wasn't immediately returned and LIRR referred any comment to the governor's office.

Earlier Thursday, Moorman addressed a New York State Assembly committee that officials at Amtrak would go seek a private vendor to improve the area of New York Penn Station.

Amtrak, which operates the station that also includes Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit commuter lines, "took immediate and appropriate actions to fix or mitigate these risks or institute remedial actions until proper repairs could be made", the FRA said.

Travelers raced to make their departing trains at Penn Station on July 2, 2013.

The plan said the rail service would be closing "at least two tracks at a time", during the two outages this summer, but Moorman on Thursday said the agency was still working with Long Island Rail Road and NJ Transit on the specifics of the closures.

A preliminary report from Amtrak said a total of 44 days would be affected July 7 to 25 and August 4 to 28.

"While many people rightfully associate Gateway with the new Hudson River Tunnel that must be built to protect current services into NY and the economy of the entire region, Gateway is also the only path toward building new tracks and platforms at Penn Station, so that we can decrease the pressure on existing facilities and accommodate ever-increasing demands for more train service", he said. New Jersey legislators will come to Penn Friday to inspect the work that needs to be done.

Amtrak's replacement of tracks and other equipment, much of which dates to the 1970s, initially was scheduled to be completed over a two- or three-year period, mainly during off hours.

"We must have the right to approve any private contractor that Amtrak selects in response to our request and the record of failure causing these problems at Penn Station". New Jersey and NY pay Amtrak $150 million a year.

Most of the work will take place in the western side of the 112-year-old station, which Moorman called "absolutely vital" to stopping small incidents from becoming big problems for riders.

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