Summer of Hell for Penn Station commuters almost over

The so-called Summer of Hell is just days away from being over. Amtrak officials announced Thursday afternoon that the repair work at Penn Station in Manhattan is complete and regular service will resume in the morning on Tuesday, September 5.

The infrastructure renewal project at the station affected thousands of commuters who rely on the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit, and Amtrak. The repairs began July 10.

Amtrak COO Scot Naparstek said the renewed infrastructure will provide more reliable service in and out of Penn Station. He said critical replacement and repairs were made to the infrastructure, including full removal and replacement of Track 10 and a total track and switch replacement of A-interlocking, which is the sorting mechanism that leads in and out of the station from the Hudson River tunnels and LIRR's West Side yards.

Chief Engineer Gary Williams said a team of 360 Amtrak engineers installed 897 track ties, laid 1,800 feet of rail, dropped 1,000 tons of ballast, poured 176 yards of concrete, installed seven switches, and installed four diamond crossings. The work took 1,296 hours.

 "I'm not going to sit in front of you and say that we're going to go to 100 percent on-time performance on Tuesday, September 5," Naparstek said. "We are going to go to more reliable performance but we're not going to have perfection."

Amtrak officials said more repairs will be done from fall through the spring. Most of the work will take place on the weekends and at nights.