NEW YORK (AP) – It is a query that has weighed on the minds of numerous commuters, often as they sit in a stalled practice in one of many tunnels heading into the nation’s busiest practice station: Why does assist appear to take so lengthy to reach?
It is a problem that may persist lengthy after Amtrak completes this summer time’s in depth repairs (and corresponding schedule cutbacks) at Penn Station.
A linchpin within the northeastern U.S.’ rail system, the station is present process accelerated restore work this month and subsequent to exchange a number of thousand ft of monitor, switches and different getting old infrastructure. The speedup was prompted by two derailments within the station this spring that wreaked havoc on rail service between Boston and Washington, D.C.
Whereas the summer time repairs are anticipated to tremendously scale back the probabilities for extra derailments, they will not tackle one other of the station’s elementary issues: breakdowns within the cramped, 111-yr-previous tunnel underneath the Hudson River from New Jersey, and within the East River tunnel carrying trains to and from Lengthy Island.
At peak occasions, when 24 trains per hour transfer out and in of Penn Station, a disabled practice in one of many Hudson River tunnel’s two tubes can result in distress for a whole lot of hundreds of commuters. However vital delays can happen even when a practice breaks down within the tunnel throughout off-peak occasions.
“An excellent rescue, and that is on an open monitor and at the moment of day, is forty five minutes to an hour,” Steven Younger, Amtrak’s deputy basic supervisor of its New York division, stated final week as he stood overlooking the station’s management middle, situated in a nondescript constructing a few block away from the station.
Typically, these are brought on by malfunctions of overhead electrical wires – a part of a system that dates to the Nineteen Thirties in some locations – in excessively chilly or scorching climate. Trains additionally break down on their very own, as a New Jersey Transit practice carrying 1,200 passengers did on the night of April 14.
That incident led to delays of as much as three hours and produced a stampede on the station when delayed commuters panicked after police used a stun gun to subdue an unruly individual.
Eleven days later, a disabled Amtrak practice within the Hudson River tunnel and, the identical day, electrical issues within the East River tunnel prompted widespread delays and compelled some trains to be…