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Penn Station’s ‘summer of hell’ track work wraps up

Work was completed ahead of the original Labor Day deadline

Max Touhey

In what might come as a surprise to most, the planned repairs at Penn Station are complete, and they’ve actually wrapped up a few days early. Penn Station’s “Summer of Hell,” turned out to be not quite so hellish, even though a large number of commuters had to take circuitous routes during the eight weeks of repair.

Throughout the course of the repair work Amtrak continued to provide updates on the progress, and it was usually pretty upbeat. A week after repairs began, Amtrak intimated that work was moving a little bit ahead of schedule. By the end of July, Amtrak said half the work was complete. And towards the end of August, they announced that the work was actually on track to finish on time.

But as New Yorkers we’ve grown a bit wary of promises made by transit officials, so it still comes as a pleasant surprise to see Penn Station’s repair work wrap up ahead of schedule.

“This accelerated work was an enormous undertaking,” Wick Moorman, the CEO of Amtrak, said in a statement. “We did it on time, on budget, and most importantly, safely.”

The repair work pertained to installing “897 track ties, 1,100 ft. of rails (or six football fields worth of track), 1000 tons of ballast, 7 turnouts (switches), 4 complex diamond crossings, and 176 yards of concrete.” This allows for a smoother routing of incoming and outgoing trains at Penn Station from the Hudson River tunnel and the LIRR’s West Side Yard.

This doesn’t mean repairs are totally complete, and then there’s also the massive overall revamp of Penn Station, but moving forward, Amtrak’s repairs will take place during the normal weekend maintenance periods, and won’t have as much of an impact on everyday commuting. Normal service at Penn Station will resume on September 5.

New York Penn Station

1 Penn Plz, New York, NY 10001 (212) 630-6401