Service Changes For NJ TRANSIT Riders As Penn Station Repairs Begin

Kristen Gonzales
July 11, 2017

Penn Station, which Amtrak took over in the 1970s, handles twice as many daily train movements, about 1,300, as it did then.

"It's hard to imagine Amtrak, the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit doing a good job, but from my limited vantage point things seem to be running relatively smoothly", said Howard Bernstein, an attorney from Long Beach on Long Island who took the Long Island Rail Road to Manhattan to transfer to a PATH train to his job in Jersey City.

"Getting home is what I'm anxious about", said Corey Wright, 38, who commutes from Huntington, Long Island, to Penn Station.

The national passenger rail corporation Amtrak and regional commuter train operators New Jersey Transit Corp and the Long Island Rail Road all converge on Penn Station.

He says almost all the passengers getting off NJ Transit trains were flooding into the same PATH entrance, leaving a second one much less crowded.

Amtrak also is reducing the number of trains it runs between NY and Washington and diverting some trains from Albany across town to Grand Central Terminal.

The station, owned by Amtrak, moved up the repairs after a year of derailments and sewer issues interfered with the station's operations.

The "Summer of Hell" is expected to wrap up on September 1.

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New Jersey Transit spokesman Charles Ingoglia (ihn-GOH'-lee-uh) says the agency would like to think it's quiet because "a lot of people did their homework".

Rail commuters will suffer this summer's overcrowding and reduced service with the knowledge that the repairs won't add train capacity or eliminate problems like overhead wire failures in the tunnel that cause regular delays.

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All tolls on major commuting crossings are also cashless.

NJ Transit executive director Steve Santoro says this "will not be a normal commute". So even those commuters who caught one of the few trains arriving at Penn Station before 7 a.m. will have to go to Hoboken to catch a train home.

In a survey aimed at illustrating the financial hardship caused by the city's subway system, almost 75 percent of respondents blamed trains for their late arrival at work during the last three months, while 13 percent said they'd been docked wages.

Commuting around NY is getting more impossible by the minute. The Penn Station is the busiest in the whole country, but still, its infrastructure is very descending over the years, and several such problems are occurring in few months, along with other linking stations.

Commuters are advised to sign up for MTA alerts, buy tickets ahead of time and travel closer to the start or end of rush hour to avoid crowds. New Jersey Transit is diverting some rush hour trains to Hoboken, where passengers can switch to PATH trains or ferries.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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