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Amtrak: Latest round of Penn Station repairs to finish on time

The next round of the ongoing renovations will include a renewal project for Track 19, used primarily by the LIRR, that is scheduled to begin on June 8. Current LIRR schedules will remain in effect.

Track 15, center, was part of the latest

Track 15, center, was part of the latest round of infrastructure repair work by Amtrak at Penn Station. Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

Amtrak expects to complete its latest round of Penn Station infrastructure upgrades on time later this month, and is already looking ahead to the next phase of repairs at the busy Manhattan transit hub this summer.

Those planned improvements are not expected to necessitate any further changes to LIRR service.

Scot Naparstek, Amtrak’s chief operating officer, on Friday provided an update on the latest round of its work at Penn, which began in January and is scheduled to conclude on May 28. Amtrak has already rebuilt Track 15, and expects to complete its overhaul of Track 18 on Monday.

It is also nearing completion of its renewal of “C-interlocking” — a complex switching location at the east end of the station that’s used to route Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak trains to and from all points east, Naparstek said.

Naparstek said the project will be finished “on time and within budget.”

“We are now turning our attention to our summer work,” Naparstek added.

That work will also include improvements to Amtrak’s Empire Tunnel in Manhattan, which links Penn Station trains heading to and from Albany, and to its Spuyten Duyvil Bridge between Manhattan and the Bronx. Those projects are set to begin later this month and last through Labor Day.

On June 8, Amtrak will begin a renewal project on Penn Station’s Track 19, which is primarily used by the LIRR. The work is expected to continue until July 20.

The LIRR has said that throughout the summer work it will keep in place the schedule it adopted in January, when Amtrak began its current work. With one track out of service at any particular time in the ongoing project, the LIRR has been diverting eight total rush-hour trains from Penn and has removed two others from its schedule.

LIRR officials are advising customers to pay attention to track assignments at Penn throughout the summer, though, as they may be different than what they’re used to.

Naparstek noted that the impact from the planned work this summer will be far less than what commuters experienced last summer — the so-called “summer of hell” — when the LIRR operated with three fewer tracks at Penn Station during the rush hour.

“The actual interruption due to the track work we’re doing this summer is significantly reduced from that of last year,” Naparstek said.

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