Amtrak announced preliminary schedules as part of the Infrastructure Renewal at New York Penn Station, a series of major track and switch renewal projects that will strengthen railroad infrastructure, operations, and preparedness, as well as improve reliability at America’s busiest rail hub.
“Amtrak is accelerating its work to improve conditions and reliability of the tracks at Penn Station during the summer,” said Amtrak President/CEO Wick Moorman. “While we regret that this work requires some reduction in train service and disruption to passengers over the summer months, we believe it will ultimately be worth the investment in terms of increased reliability of passenger rail travel. In addition, while Amtrak’s own service at Penn Station will face the largest impact of the three railroads in terms of proportional reductions in train service during the work period, we will use all the tools we can, such as lengthening trains, to continue to provide capacity for our intercity travelers going to or from New York.”
The following service adjustments have been made to Amtrak’s weekday schedule, in effect from July 10 to Sept. 1:
- Acela Express: No changes
- Northeast Regional Service: Three round trip trains (six total trains) between New York City and Washington, D.C. canceled. Service between New York City and Boston will operate at currently scheduled levels.
- Keystone Service: Three round trip trains (six total trains) will start and end in Philadelphia, and one round trip train (two total trains) will start and end at Newark, New Jersey. Service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg will operate at currently scheduled levels.
- Empire Service: To be announced shortly.
- Long-Distance Service: The Crescent, operating between New York City and New Orleans, will originate and terminate in Washington, D.C. daily during work period. Connections will be provided on other Northeast Corridor trains.
Amtrak’s reservation systems have been updated to reflect these schedule changes and any passenger already booked on a train that has been canceled or altered will be contacted and accommodated on other scheduled services.
Infrastructure Renewal at Penn Station
The Infrastructure Renewal work accelerates several years of already planned improvement of track, switch, and other infrastructure at Penn Station to improve track conditions. The major work will require Amtrak and its partners to operate on a modified schedule from July 10 to Sept. 1, 2017. The work during this summer period will occur in “A Interlocking,” which serves as the critical sorting mechanism routing incoming and outgoing trains that enter and exit Penn Station from the Hudson River tunnel and the LIRR’s West Side Yard to the various station tracks and platforms. The work in A Interlocking includes total track and switch replacement. This work is presently fully-funded.
Additional work will last through approximately June 2018, with most of it taking place on weekends, resulting in minimal impacts to service.
While the plan is designed to renew overused and aging infrastructure, overall improvement in reliability of Penn Station will require a commitment from all of the users of Penn Station, the Administration, and Congress to provide investment in the Northeast Corridor and to fund the Gateway Program’s Hudson Tunnel project and the expansion of Penn Station.
The Renewal work is designed to address the reliability issues caused by the significant growth in train volumes at New York Penn Station coupled with its aging infrastructure.
There has been an almost three million passenger increase in just over 10 years — more than 10.4 million intercity passengers annually; more than 450,000 intercity and commuter rail passenger trips daily; and more than 1,300 train movements per weekday travel through Penn Station.