NJ Transit, Amtrak begin ‘intensive planning’ for NY Penn Station project
NEW YORK — There are no specifics yet, but it's looking more like Amtrak's preliminary plan calling for 44 days of service curtailments during rehab work at New York Penn Station will become a reality.
Amtrak, which operates and maintains the Northeast Corridor's tracks and equipment, met with New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road to "begin intensive planning for the coming Penn Station Renewal Program, which will significantly limit service in and out of Penn Station New York this summer," according to a statement from NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder.
"The pressures that are going to be placed on the system which will impact all customers traveling in and out of Penn Station are going to be very real during July and August, when Amtrak carries out intensive infrastructure reconstruction and renewal at the complex," Snyder said, adding that the agency is "working to create a service plan and schedule to carry as many customers as safely as possible and sustainable under the very real physical constraints of the station work."
More joint meetings are planned to finalize schedules.
Amtrak's preliminary plan for the project calls for "continuous rail service curtailments" during weekdays and rush hours from July 7 to 25 and Aug. 4 to 28, according to state Sens. Bob Gordon and Loretta Weinberg.
Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert said that "as we continue to jointly finalize the plan, we are also working on our communications efforts so we can provide clear and advance communication of these changes at the appropriate time."
"At this point, all I've thought about is how many days I can possibly work from home and how I can best time my vacations to coincide with the delays and closures," NJ Transit rider Michael Kasdan from South Orange told New Jersey 101.5. He hopes the plan includes extra buses and extra trains to Hoboken.
Kasdan is also hoping for some reduction in fares.
"I'm not sure how it is NJT thinks they can continue to charge full price for a service that they rarely deliver, causing immeasurable productivity loss in lost work hours and stress on its riders," he said.
Gordon joined Democratic candidate for governor Phil Murphy at the Trenton train station on Thursday to outline his long-term and short-term priorities for NJ Transit, which include finding a dedicated revenue source and "potentially" new taxes.
Murphy also backed Gordon's ideas such as franchise fees at toll-road rest stops, fees on developers in mass transit-heavy areas like Jersey City and Hoboken, and selling air rights over land such NJ Transit’s Lautenberg Station in Secaucus.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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