6 weeks of train disruptions possible at Penn Station, Amtrak says

- Rail commuters would face about six weeks of significant service disruptions this summer under a preliminary plan to make repairs at New York's Penn Station.

In documents obtained by The Associated Press, Amtrak describes work scheduled between July 7 and July 25 and again between Aug. 4 and Aug. 28 as causing "significant service impacts" and requiring service adjustments.

The plan is being negotiated with the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit, which also use the nation's busiest rail station.

The proposal was panned Tuesday by New Jersey legislators who said it doesn't take advantage of the July 4th and Labor Day weekends to minimize impact on commuters.

Other repairs will be performed during weekend hours through next spring.

Initial plans included as many as three "significant" service disruptions this summer as part of the accelerated repair work of the aging infrastructure.

Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman told a New Jersey legislative committee earlier this month that the goal is to have the work at the nation's busiest rail station done by Labor Day.

"Amtrak now plans to advance this work quickly through a series of major projects beginning in May and continuing through the fall in order to quickly achieve the benefits of this renewal work for our partners and passengers," according to a statement posted to Amtrak.com.

The work will require the closing of tracks and schedule changes of all the railroads operating at NY Penn.

Some work will be done on weekends but a significant part will be done on weekdays. Decisions are still being made about how many commuter trains will be affected.

Repairs will begin with the full replacement of the mechanism used to route trains that enter from the Hudson River tunnels and the Long Island Rail Road’s West Side Yard to the various station tracks and platforms in the station

"Amtrak will work with our partner railroads and other affected entities as we develop the schedule for this needed work and will make every effort to minimize disruptions to all customers."

The rail agency which operates all the tracks at the major transportation hub has been under fire in recent weeks for two derailments and service disruptions.

After an April 3 derailment, eight of the station's 21 tracks were closed, causing delays and service cancelations for four days.

Hundreds of thousands of commuters and travelers from up and down the East Coast pass through the station each day.

With the Associated Press

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