Sen. Charles Schumer. (Sept. 27, 2010)

Sen. Charles Schumer. (Sept. 27, 2010) Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

Sen. Charles Schumer added his voice Monday to those calling on Amtrak to change how it schedules inspections and repairs at Penn Station, a week after an emergency repair caused major disruptions on the Long Island Rail Road.

In a letter sent Monday to Amtrak president Joseph Boardman, Schumer said the miscommunication that led to Amtrak's emergency repairs in a Penn Station tunnel during the height of April 18's evening rush hour was "unacceptable."

The repairs, which took more than five hours, forced the LIRR to cancel 21 peak trainson the first night of Passover.

"Simply put, Amtrak needs to insure that Long Island peak commuters do not fall victim to routine track inspections and maintenance that could otherwise be conducted during off-peak hours," he wrote.

LIRR officials and Metropolitan Transportation Authority board members also have called on Amtrak to change the way it handles inspections.

Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole thanked Schumer for his "continued strong advocacy for rail travel in the northeast." Cole said last week that Amtrak, which owns and maintains the tracks, has agreed to "explore mutually beneficial options to enhance the federally mandated rail inspection process, with the goal of mitigating the overall operational impact to Long Island Rail Road and its customers."

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