Amtrak accelerating Penn Station work, rail delays expected

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NEWARK -

Amtrak says it is accelerating repair work at New York's Penn Station beginning next month, and warns of further delays for already beleaguered commuters.

Amtrak announced Thursday it will begin replacing tracks and signals in May and will continue the work through the summer.

Service on Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road will be affected, though Amtrak didn't offer specifics.

Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman said the work was to have been spread out over a few years, but recent events prompted the decision to do the work more quickly.

“The simple fact of the matter is that some of the track and infrastructure in service today at Penn Station was built in the 1970s at a time when we were handling half the trains and a third of the customers that we do today,” Moorman said. “While a substantial amount of reconstruction has already been done at New York Penn Station, the remaining renewal work has been scheduled to take place over the next several years in order to minimize impacts on scheduled services. We can’t wait that long. This work needs to be done now.”

The Penn Station improvement initiatives that Moorman outlined Thursday include: the New York Penn Station Infrastructure Renewal Program; a New York Penn Station passenger concourse coordination review to be conducted by former Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO and Chairman Tom Prendergast; the development of a joint station concourse operations center; and safety and security.

Commuters have endured major delays several times in the last month due to derailments and electrical problems.

Hundreds of thousands of commuters and travelers from up and down the East Coast pass through the station each day.

Additional information and updates about the New York Penn Station improvement initiatives will be posted at Amtrak.com and Amtrak.com/NYPrenewal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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