Amtrak says it’s taking steps to alleviate dangerous crowding conditions on one Penn Station platform that commuters called a ‘‘death trap’’ this week because of ongoing construction work at the LIRR rail hub.
Because of its infrastructure renewal project at Penn Station, Amtrak has erected construction walls to section off a portion of the platform serving tracks 15 and 16—the former of which is out of service for repairs.
As a result, several Long Island Rail Road commuters have complained about severe crowding conditions during the evening rush hour this week as scores of people crowd onto a half-platform in Manhattan.
LIRR rider Ryan Mulrooney, in a Twitter message, said large volumes of riders have been coming down the escalator but “can’t get off and just pile into those stuck at the bottom.” Mulrooney, and other commuters, have described it as a “death trap.”
Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams on Thursday said the agency’s engineering team “conducted a walkthrough” of the site with LIRR officials and will take measures to address the concerns.
“We will be placing an usher at the east end of the platform and will make some signs to put up on the wall to help alleviate this,” Abrams said.
The five-month-long project that includes the reconstruction of tracks 15 and 18 is the followup to Amtrak’s so-called “summer of hell” Penn Station repairs, which forced the LIRR to significantly scale back rush-hour service there.
Although the new project has had less impact on LIRR service, it comes as the railroad has been plagued with major service disruptions over the last several days—many of which the railroad has attributed to winter weather.
Thursday was the first workday this year during which the LIRR did not suspend service on one or more branch.