Amtrak official said the NJ Transit train being out of service wouldn’t have made the first round of rush-hour commute in Penn Station any worse during the Summer of Hell repairs.
The NJ Transit train that derailed at Penn Station Thursday night won’t make the first rush hour commute during the Summer of Hell any worse.
A top Amtrak official on Friday said that the spot where a NJ Transit train derailed Thursday evening was going to be taken out of service later in the evening anyway, as part of agency’s accelerated emergency repair work.
It was the third derailment at Penn Station this year.
“The incidents are the No. 1 symptom of why we need to do the work we’re going to do this summer,” said Scot Naparstek, Amtrak’s chief operating officer. “What these incidents are saying to us is, we need to speed up the process.”
Scot Naparstek (far r.), Amtrak’s chief operating officer said NJ Transit train that derailed in Penn Station was going to be taken out of service anyway.
About 180 people were on the Penn-bound NJ Transit train when the first passenger car behind the locomotive derailed around 9:10 p.m. as it pulled into the station at a slow speed, according to transit officials.
The passengers were on board for about 90 minutes. There were no reported injuries. Amtrak crews rerailed the train around 2:45 a.m. The cause is still under investigation.
There were roughly 15 minute delays on NJ Transit and Amtrak trains Friday morning.
It happened near the site of derailments in March and April — the same area on the western side of the station that will get extensive upgrades and repairs during Amtrak’s eight weeks of emergency work beginning on Monday.
The work will mean fewer rush hour trains running through Penn Station.
That means there will be a tighter margin of error for Amtrak to recover from a problem with a rail, a track switch, or another piece of equipment.
“Because we have less tracks we have less ability to recover. It’ll take longer before you see that hiccup work its way through the system,” he said. “Then the commuter will see delays.”
Naparstek said Amtrak postponed a project in Delaware just to make sure there will be extra workers at Penn Station to tackle problems that crop up through the day, allowing crews on the tracks to focus on the emergency repair work.
Starting July 10, Amtrak crews will begin emergency repairs that’ll create a space crunch at Penn Station. Crews will need to take out three tracks at a time.
Instead of the Summer of Hell, Naparstek preferred to call it the Summer of Renewal.
Naparstek was confident that on the first rush hour after Labor Day — Sept. 5 — will be back to normal.
“It isn’t going to make the station run at a 100% or be fool-proof, but I’m very very confident that the scope we have outlined, the jobs we’re going to get done, the tasks that we’ve got in our plan will get done this summer.”