Penn Station repairs reach halfway point

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- This is the half way point in this major Amtrak repair and replace work, but already Amtrak is looking at additional work.

If only the work went as fast as the time-lapse video provided by Amtrak, but the video does show the vast scope of heavy duty work being completed in the first four weeks of this infrastructure renewal at Penn Station.

"We are at week four, which is 50-percent of the way through the project. It's important for us to finish this with the same focus and determination that we started this project," Gery Williams, Amtrak Chief Engineer, said.

Speaking on a teleconference, Williams is optimistic about the progress of work.

With Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and LIRR running reduced numbers of trains, the long overdue work takes out three to five tracks at a time in the "A interlocking" section. It's a critical switching area used by the three railroads.

Repairing and replacing switches and signals here is the most critical work.

"Right now with the work we are doing with track 10 and the A interlocking, we are very focused on delivering it by Labor Day," Williams said.

That's good news to the 650-thousand riders who use the station each day and have had their commutes altered for the eight weeks of work.

The success Amtrak has had with this work could also open the door for additional work later this year.

"I think that we will ask our partners, MTA, LIRR, NJ Transit and others maybe for some extended outages after we have well planned them, looked at them and determine the need for them," Williams said.

Some specific work is already planned right now on weekends after Labor Day.
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