Train changes taking effect as Penn Station track work begins

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The next phase of the Infrastructure Renewal program began work on Friday, with revised scheduled train operations commencing on Monday, January 8. (Richard Drew)

Commuters who use Penn Station will see some schedule changes with Amtrak's next series of track renewal projects now underway.

The next phase of the Infrastructure Renewal program began work on Friday, with revised scheduled train operations commencing on Monday, January 8.

The project is occurring in the area of Track 15, which requires a section of concrete demolition and replacement, and Track 18, which requires localized concrete demolition with complex steel hardware replacement and rail renewal. In addition, Amtrak is renewing and replacing three turnouts in "C" Interlocking, which directs Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road trains to routes heading east and to Sunnyside Yard.

The bulk of the infrastructure renewal work for 2018 is occurring on weekends, as the project scope has not changed since November's initial announcement. It is still expected to conclude on May 28, 2018, with minor modifications to Amtrak and commuter train weekday operations at New York Penn Station.

Amtrak's revised schedule includes:
--Amtrak cancelled Northeast Regional Trains 110 from Washington, D.C. (WAS) to New York Penn Station (NYP) and 127 from NYP to WAS
--Northbound Keystone Train 640 is terminating at Newark Penn Station
--Southbound Keystone Train 643 is originating at Newark Penn Station
--Southbound Train 173 is stopping at Newark Airport
--Southbound Trains 129, 193 and 653 are all having earlier departure times.
--Train 170 is also departing WAS early, is stopping at North Philadelphia and Cornwells Heights and resuming its schedule from Trenton

The project will affect a total of five New Jersey Transit trains per day, two in the a.m. peak and three in the p.m. peak periods.

--NJCL train 3216, the 6:11 a.m. eastbound Long Branch departure, will now depart at 6:23 a.m. and will be diverted to Hoboken renumbered as 2604
--NEC train 3122, the 7:06 a.m. eastbound departure from New Brunswick will terminate at Newark Penn Station renumbered as 5822.
--NJCL train 3267, the 5:25 p.m. departure from PSNY, will originate from Hoboken at 5:22 p.m. renumbered as 2609
--NEC train 3171, the 5:43 p.m. departure from PSNY, will originate at Newark Penn Station at 6:03 p.m. renumbered as 5869
--NJCL train 3441, the 6:51 p.m. departure from PSNY, will be canceled

Customers are advised that trains prior to or following the affected trains may experience crowded conditions. Customers with flexibility in their travel may consider the following alternate options:

--NJCL customers may consider utilizing private bus carriers such as Academy Bus from locations including the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel
--NJCL customers may also consider ferry service from Monmouth County including NY Waterway's ferry from Belford or Seastreak ferry from Highlands or Atlantic Highlands
--NEC customers may consider private bus carriers including Suburban Transit/Coach USA bus from points in Mercer and Middlesex counties
--Customers may also utilize NJ TRANSIT bus service on the Route 9 corridor

Visit NJTransit.com for the latest updates.

As for the LIRR, five of the 98 morning rush hour trains that normally go to Penn Station will be rerouted, along with three of the 86 evening rush hour trains that normally depart from Penn Station.

To reduce the impact of these diversions, the LIRR is adding five trains before or after rush hours -- two in the morning and three in the afternoon/evening. The LIRR is also adding cars to five trains to increase seating capacity. In addition, two evening rush hour trains will be combined with alternative trains that depart within six to 11 minutes and serve all affected stations.

"With five percent of rush hour trains being affected compared with 20 percent during Amtrak's intensive work at Penn this past summer, this will have a significantly smaller impact than the one felt this past summer," LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski said. "We are committed to providing our customers with exemplary service and travel options despite this small disruption. We are maintaining capacity by lengthening select trains and adding trains just before and just after rush hours when we have available timeslots."

For full service details by branch, visit MTA.info/LIRR.
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