Repairs planned for Penn Station affecting LIRR tracks

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Penn Station is seen in Manhattan. (Photo by Rickyrab via Wikimedia Commons)

Amtrak will embark on a new series of Penn Station track repairs starting in January, shutting down three tracks used by the Long Island Rail Road for “total reconstruction.”

Amtrak plans to rebuild tracks 15, 18 and 19, all used by the LIRR, one at a time from January to May, according to Long Island Rail Road President Patrick Nowakowski.

He said rush hour service would likely be affected, with some trains potentially being diverted, but said it was too early to gauge what the full service impact would be.

“It’s an important project for the safety of our trains and our operations,” Nowakowski said at the MTA’s LIRR Committee meeting on Monday, “but it will be an impactful project that will impact the level of service.”

The announced repairs are a part of Amtrak’s long-term infrastructure renewal project at Penn Station, which aims to upgrade tracks and equipment.

This follows summer track repair work, which focused on repairing three different tracks to address long-term neglect, and prompted the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or MTA, to put in a mitigation plan that temporarily added alternative travel options for affected riders.

It also follows some limited fall repair work, which was concentrated outside of peak service times.

“After a successful summer, it is essential that we continue to upgrade the infrastructure so that we can continue to improve the reliability of service for all the customers that use New York Penn Station,” Amtrak co-CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman said in a statement.

Nowakowski said, “We are doing the due diligence that we did for the summer service to actually try and accommodate as many riders as possible, as many trains as possible into Penn Station.

“It will not be as much as we experienced last summer, but they need to take three station tracks completely out of service.”

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