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Amtrak mulling Cuomo’s alternative L train plan for its own tunnel repairs

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Amtrak officials view the plan from Cuomo’s team as a “common-sense solution”


After Governor Andrew Cuomo abruptly announced plans to call off the 15-month L train shutdown, opting for a different method of repairing the Hurricane Sandy-damaged Canarsie Tunnel, officials at Amtrak are considering a similar approach to conduct repairs on damaged tunnels between Manhattan and Queens.

According to the New York Daily News, engineers for Amtrak is studying Cuomo’s plan, which involves a different way of repairing the cables that would keep the tunnel’s capabilities intact, before determining if the method could work for its own purposes, but have so far called the idea a “common-sense solution” and one that would create a more tolerable experience for passengers.

“It’s is important for us to do a thorough vetting so that we can determine now at this stage whether it’s a methodology that we could use,” Amtrak chairman Anthony Coscia told the Daily News.

Amtrak has plans to demolish the inside of two East River tunnels, both damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, down and rebuild them in a fashion that is similar to what was originally planned for the L train line.

While the multi-billion dollar Gateway tunnel project, to repair tunnels beneath the Hudson River that connect Penn Station to New Jersey is a top priority, Amtrak officials aren’t confident that Cuomo’s approach could work in this case, since there are structural issues to the Hudson River tunnels that existed before Hurricane Sandy. Though flooding was worse in the East River tunnels, the problems within the Hudson River tunnels are more pressing.

Coscia says that once experts determine if Cuomo’s idea is workable for Amtrak, the company will act quickly to get the project going, however, he’s unsure how long it will take to vet the proposed methods.