Good Evening
Good Evening

Letter: LIRR breakdowns need more attention

Commuters wait at Jamaica station in Queens for

Commuters wait at Jamaica station in Queens for Long Island Rail Road trains that had been delayed on May 16, 2013 by a fallen power line in an East River tunnel. Credit: Mario Gonzalez

The 105-year-old complex of tunnels at Penn Station has been in the news constantly because of major delays affecting the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak ["LIRR breakdown a sign of neglect," Editorial, Sept. 4]. For 40 years, this complex has been groaning under the weight of expanded service demands without the benefit of expanded infrastructure.

In the mid-1970s, Penn Station handled about 650 trains per day. Since then, all three train services have increased their schedules, resulting in today's 1,200 daily trains. Yet nothing has been done to add tracks or platforms.

Expansion of Penn Station's waiting areas into the post office building west of Eighth Avenue is underway. Immediately west, a massive office and residential complex is being constructed atop the LIRR's West Side Yard. Both projects will induce more people to travel in and out of Penn Station. But what good is more traffic if current infrastructure cannot handle today's demands?

Penn Station's stakeholders must convene a summit -- the governors and U.S. senators from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the LIRR, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, NJ Transit, Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Port Authority. They must treat this situation with the urgency of a weather emergency requiring immediate solutions.

Andrew J. Sparberg, Oceanside

Editor's note: The writer is a retired LIRR manager and an adjunct CUNY professor who teaches transportation history.