Riders await LIRR plans ahead of commuting 'summer of hell'

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Tim Fleischer has the latest details.

Big changes are in store for your commute this summer, as train service at Penn Station will be cut by 20 percent to facilitate major repair work.

Time is ticking towards the start of what Governor Andrew Cuomo dubbed "the summer of hell," and riders are still waiting to hear about plans for the Long Island Rail Road.

"We'll have more announcements when they are appropriate and they are ready," MTA Acting Chairman Fernando Ferrer said.

For now, officials stress they are still working on how to ease the burdon LIRR riders will face once the rebuild effor begins on the Penn Station infrastructure.

"We will be redirecting some trains away from Penn, toward areas where they can disembark and get on our subway system," Ferrar said.

Amtrak officials have said that starting July 7, one-fifth of the trains at Penn Station will be taken out of service through August.

That has prompted Cuomo to make several suggestions, including expanded park and ride options, free private Coach buses, opening HOV lanes for buses and park and ride commuters, and high-speed ferries.

"We just can't absorb at this time a 20 percent reduction in trains, thinking its going to work out," Cuomo said. "It's not."

Cuomo favors turning the repair work over to a private contractor, because he does not trust the timetable.

"The six week estimate of Amtrak, I don't believe it," he said. "I believe it's going to be longer, and I believe that's going to be an extended period of pain."

Amtrak promises it is doing its to get the work done in as timely a manner as possible.

"Amtrak has been working together with our commuter partners to develop schedules that minimize impact on customers and provide ample time for planning," president and CEO Wick Moorman said.

Approximately 650,000 commuters depend on New York Penn Station every day, but over the past several weeks derailments and signal failures have crippled the nation's largest rail terminal.
Related Topics:
penn stationlirrlong island railroadnew jersey transitnjtransitcommutingmtaNew York City
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