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Penn Station repairs could divert Amtrak trains to Grand Central Terminal

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Wait, what?

Oliver Foerstner/

As commuters who travel in and out of Penn Station wait to see to what extent their travels will be FUBARed this summer due to track closures, a few New York state lawmakers have proposed a solution that might assuage those fears.

That solution: diverting some Amtrak trains to Grand Central Terminal for the duration of the repairs, which those lawmakers—New York state senator Neil Breslin, along with New York state assembly members John McDonald and Patricia Fahy—say will help mitigate the delays, service outages, and general stress that track closures will almost certainly cause.

And according to DNAInfo, the MTA is “in conversation” with Amtrak and state officials about the proposal. “We're talking and meeting with Amtrak regularly,” an MTA spokesperson told DNAInfo. “We're hoping to have a final announcement and schedule put out soon.”

As of right now, track closures are expected to happen for a total of six weeks in July and August, though Amtrak CEO Charles Moorman recently said that they may not be able to finish before the end of this summer. These are necessary, Amtrak says, to facilitate repairs to aging infrastructure (which has caused derailments and other problems in the past few months), as well as the establishment of a coordinated operations center for the various agencies that use Penn Station.

But Breslin, McDonald, and Fahy, in a letter to Moorman, noted that both commuters and visitors to New York will be impacted by the service changes—which could, of course, hit the city’s economy. Plus, they note, it might be a feasible solution “in light of the fact that 20 years ago most trains were routed to Grand Central rather than Penn Station.”

But as of right now, it’s nothing more than an idea—Amtrak and the MTA, along with other state officials, are still working out the details of the plan.