Full rail service restored at NY Penn Station; Expect delays

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The NJ Transit entrance at Penn Station. (AP file)

Hours after it was expected to be restored, rail service was fully operational at NY Penn Station Friday.

Amtrak officials had said repair work on a track where a train derailed earlier would be completed by the start of the Friday morning rush.  But several hours later and Amtrak had yet to fully restore service at the commuter hub.

At about 6:40 a.m., Amtrak announced that crews had completed the work but were testing the repaired track and planned to restore full service shortly.

As a result, the Long Island Rail Road canceled 10 trains for the Friday morning rush.

NJ Transit reported regular service into and out of NY Penn but warned customers that they should anticipate delays.

All but one track was operating as of 7:20 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., all tracks were operational. 

PATH Trains discontinued NJ Transit and Amtrak cross-honoring at 10 a.m.

On Thursday, Amtrak announced that full rail service would be restored in time for the Friday morning commute.

Amtrak, which owns the station and the tracks and leases access to NJ Transit and Long Island Rail Road, suspended service on Monday after a "minor" derailment, the second in recent weeks.

Speaking to reporters, CEO Wick Moorman said the derailment occurred when an NJ Transit train went over a wooden cross-tie under the track that was apparently weakened and the track split.

An Amtrak train derailed in March because the track was misaligned.

Monday's incident knocked out service at nearly half of the available tracks, limiting the number of trains that could go in and out of the facility.

The derailment left thousands of commuters scrambling to find other ways to get to and from work or enduring long delays and overcrowded trains.

Amtrak's announcement comes hours after Gov. Chris Christie said he would halt payments to the rail agency following the derailment.

In a letter to Amtrak's chairman, Christie said he directed New Jersey Transit to withhold funds until an independent inspection verifies Amtrak's Northeast Corridor is in a state of good repair.

The letter, published Thursday, went on to say: "Amtrak does not take its obligations seriously and has not effectively applied NJ TRANSIT's considerable payments to the proper maintenance of these assets, which are absolutely essential to its customers."

NJ Transit officials are also lashing out at Amtrak for to the rail problems at Penn Station that have heavily impacted rush hour traffic at the commuter hub.

"It is Amtrak's responsibility to take immediate action and, all corrective actions, to resolve the continuing problems at Penn Station New York for the sake of all of our customers and the region's transit system," NJ Transit Executive Director Steven H. Santoro said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

NJ Transit said it has given tens of millions of dollars to Amtrak for maintenance work under its contract. It wants an immediate inspection of every track at the station to avoid other incidents.

A derailment on March 24 caused chaos for an entire day. NJ Transit said it is still waiting to hear the cause of that incident from Amtrak.

"Amtrak needs to step up to the plate. We're funding them," Santoro said.

With the Associated Press