Amtrak anticipates 2-3 major summer service disruptions during Penn Station repairs

Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman testifies at a New Jersey hearing. Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman testifies at a New Jersey hearing.
TRENTON -

Amtrak's CEO says accelerated repairs at New York's Penn Station this summer will require two or three "significant" disruptions to service.

Wick Moorman told a New Jersey legislative committee Friday that the goal is to have the work at the nation's busiest rail station done by Labor Day.

He said decisions are still being made about how many commuter trains will be affected.

“Commutes are never fun at the best of times and when they're lengthened we understand that. We apologize for that,” Moorman said

The repairs are being made in the wake of two recent derailments and other problems at the station that have caused headaches for hundreds of thousands of commuters.

The repairs initially were scheduled to be done over the next few years.

Moorman said Penn Station handles double the amount of traffic it handled in the 1970s and much of its infrastructure needs to be replaced.

The CEO told lawmakers that new tunnels and a rebuilding of the rail system are needed, because the old system is already at the limits of its capacity.

But the proposed Gateway Project to build a new tunnel and repair the current one is at least 10 years away, according to officials. The project’s federal funding is also in jeopardy.

“It’s at least 10 years, maybe more, and God knows what will happen with politics. How will you manage that,” Assemblyman John McKeon asked Moorman.

“All we can do is make sure it runs as well as it can,” Moorman replied.

New Jersey Transit executive director Steven Santoro said he was concerned about the project forcing NJ Transit to reduce the number of trains it operates during the weekday morning commute.

Amtrak officials say that they will meet directly with NJ Transit next week to go over what the schedule for track maintenance will be.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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