Penn Station repairs begin amid NYC rush hour

Francis Osborne
July 11, 2017

With fewer platforms available, the fix work will complicate schedules for the three rail operators that use Penn Station: the national rail corporation, Amtrak, and regional commuter train operators New Jersey Transit Corp and the Long Island Rail Road.

Monday's morning rush saw no crowds early on outside the Hoboken train and ferry stations, where New Jersey Transit is diverting some rush hour trains so passengers can switch to PATH trains or ferries.

The long-deferred track work cuts four daily weekday trains in each direction between D.C. and NY, but it maintains all scheduled Acela Express service.

Since the early birds get to skip Hoboken, NJ TRANSIT platforms in Chatham and Summit were unusually packed around 6 a.m. with commuters who woke up early to catch the last direct train to Penn Station Monday. "We're asking Long Islanders who take the railway to change their habits".

CBS2's Ali Bauman boarded a train in Summit at 7:26 a.m. and arrived in Hoboken about an hour later without any major problems. NY Waterway has an app that will give commuters real time information about where those buses are, said Jennifer Schuck, a spokeswoman. Off-peak and weekend trains will not be impacted by the Amtrak work. People then squeezed onto PATH trains as best as they could.

"It's a little messy", she said, adding she hopes kids being out of school for the summer will help the overcrowding - and the pushing that comes with it.

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"Even though the No. 7 is more convenient, the squeeze is going to be not good", Ralph said. "I actually moved to Hoboken to not deal with this from Bergen County because Penn Station was so bad and now I feel like we're dealing with it all over again".

"Getting home is what I'm anxious about", said Corey Wright, 38, who commutes from Huntington, Long Island, to Penn Station. Sifuentes said. "With a subway system that's already overcrowded how is it going to handle riders who are already displaced?"

The station, owned by Amtrak, moved up the repairs after a year of derailments and sewer issues interfered with the station's operations.

Amtrak officials said the derailments proved the need for a different approach to maintaining the tracks there. The vast majority are commuters riding New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Railroad. Around the same time, he wrote a letter to President Donald Trump asking for federal help and appealing to Trump's NY roots.

The commuter crunch highlights lagging investment in US infrastructure, and especially in New York City, which is dependent on mass transit.

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