'Summer of hell' begins at nation's busiest train station

Recent derailments forced Amtrak to speed up repairs.

ByABC News
July 10, 2017, 12:03 PM

— -- Monday marks the beginning of what New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo says will be a "summer of hell" at the largest train station in the country.

Between today and the beginning of September, Amtrak will carry out major repairs on tracks and signals at Penn Station in New York City. Amtrak decided renovations needed to be expedited after multiple derailments this year caused serious disruptions to the station, which functions as a critical and complex junction within the northeast corridor.

Track closures during the work will force Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road to send fewer trains through the station during peak times, impacting several hundred thousand passengers.

Monday morning's operations at Penn Station appeared to function without substantial delay.

"We like to think it's quiet because a lot of people did their homework," NJ Transit spokesman Charles Ingoglia.

But the real test isn't expected to arrive until bad weather, system malfunctions or police activity hit.

"The measure is how good are you when things are bad," Ingoglia said.

In an effort to relieve stress on commuters, Cuomo announced that all non-emergency road work in the New York City area would be suspended from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the expedited Penn Station repairs.

The LIRR is adding cars to many of their trains, PATH trains are running with higher frequency and NJ Transit has added buses to their routes between Hoboken and Manhattan.

Both LIRR and NJ Transit are offering discounts to those suffering the worst effects of the renovations.

According to officials, riders will experience better reliability following the upgrades, but more work is urgently needed to support the heavy demand on New York's infrastructure.

Aging wires in tunnels between New York and New Jersey, signal and track problems in northern New Jersey, and damage from Superstorm Sandy still plague the expansive network of railroads around the metropolitan area.

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