Amtrak: Track in derailment was tabbed as potential problem


08 April, 2017

An April 3 accident involving a slow-moving NJ Transit commuter train approaching Penn Station marked the second derailment in less than two weeks at tracks maintained by Amtrak in the busy Manhattan commuter hub.

Santoro said NJ Transit serves as a tenant and has signed an agreement with Amtrak to provide funding for "state-of-good repair" for the Northeast Corridor.

Moorman said he visited the site of the fix work Thursday morning and is "confident that we will have full service for rush hour tomorrow morning".

The compromised wooden beams allowed trains to widen the gauge of the rails, so when a NJ Transit train pulled into Track 9 at Penn on Monday, it "shoved the rails apart", causing the train's wheels to fall off of them, he said.

The disruptions and delays to rail service up and down the Northeast apparently were caused by a weakening of the timber ties sitting under a piece of track in Penn Station. Monday's derailment of a New Jersey Transit commuter train damaged switches, signals and rails at a spot where two tracks emerge from a tunnel and diverge to 21 tracks. The area had been inspected recently and the issue detected, Moorman said.

Moorman cautioned Christie on Thursday, saying while he understood Christie's frustration, "withholding funding is not going to solve any of the problems".

Addressing why Amtrak did not take up the LIRR on its offer to help with the derailment repairs, Moorman said the problem wasn't a lack of manpower but rather the extent of the damage to the tracks.

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"New York Penn Station is our busiest and most important station, and we take our role as host seriously and make every effort to keep it operating smoothly", Moor said in a statement.

New Jersey Transit says it is preparing to resume full weekday service in and out of New York's Penn Station.

The governor said that in addition to halting payments, he has asked his attorney general to consider taking legal action to recover the money paid to Amtrak, according to the letter. His decision in 2010 to cancel the ARC tunnel project, a new rail line linking New Jersey and NY, has been a constant source of criticism that has only heightened in instances of gridlock and commuter frustration.

Rail service has been cut back since Monday morning's derailment of a New Jersey Transit train took out eight of 21 tracks maintained by Amtrak.

Christie said NJ Transit would cease the payments until an independent examination of Amtrak's equipment along the corridor has been conducted and shows it is in good condition.

Moorland said Amtrak will put together a team to look at all of New York Penn Station's "maintenance issues and deficiencies" and will personally lead a comprehensive review of all of Amtrak's maintenance practices.

"Our plan is to work around the clock until we have the repairs done", Amtrak COO Scot Naparstek told the Times yesterday.

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