Amtrak Knew of Flaw That Caused Penn Station Derailment; Amtrak President and CEO Wick Moorman: ‘I apologize to everyone who has been inconvenienced’

April 7, 2017

Editor’s Note: Multiple New York media outlets reported Friday morning, April 7, 2017, that all tracks at New York Pennsylvania Station have been restored to service. Amtrak was unable to meet it’s self-imposed deadline of 4 a.m. Friday morning to restore all tracks to a state of good repair, causing another morning rush hour of delays for Long Island Rail Road and some New Jersey Transit passengers. – CCRail Editor

A press release from Amtrak, April 6, 2017:

Statement from Amtrak President and CEO Wick Moorman on New York Penn Station

NEW YORK – I apologize to everyone who has been inconvenienced by the recent delays and cancellations at New York Penn Station. It’s our job to make sure that commuters and intercity passengers can safely and reliably travel along the Northeast Corridor and we know we let them down with these recent derailments. Our customers and partners deserve better.

I have just visited with our hard-working crews and we expect to have all tracks at New York Penn Station at full service tomorrow.

Based on our recent investigations, we can confirm that problems with our tracks in Penn Station were a cause of both recent derailments. With the March 24 Acela Express derailment, we had a mismatch between two pieces of rail that connected together in a curve, which created a step-like condition that contributed to a wheel of our Acela Express trainset derailing. This week’s NJ Transit derailment appears to have been caused by a wide gauge condition due to defective wood ties.

We are working around the clock to both repair the damage caused by the second incident and to ensure that we have no other track problems in this busiest and most important terminal. The immediate steps we’ve taken to fix the issues we’ve identified so far include:

  • Upon discovering this misaligned rail, we immediately surveyed all other sites at the station that could possibly have the same condition, and we can confirm that none were found.
  • We have changed our specs to eliminate the possibility of a mismatched condition.
  • We have launched joint inspections with the Federal Railroad Administration to ensure that all aspects of our infrastructure at New York Penn Station are in good order.  We will share the full results of these inspections with both NJ Transit and Long Island Railroad so that they understand what we’ve found.
  • We are assembling a team that will be dedicated to address any maintenance deficiencies at the station and will reprioritize our work and support of various other projects to ensure, first and foremost, the basic condition of the terminal.
  • I am leading a comprehensive review of our maintenance practices and Engineering department, including bringing in independent experts, to ensure we have the right processes and organization to maintain and improve our infrastructure.

For more than 40 years Amtrak has worked alongside commuter rail lines on the Northeast Corridor. It is a proven partnership and we are dedicated to providing the levels of service necessary so that people can rely on rail travel. We are committed to providing a consistently reliable transportation service for everyone – and to provide a better experience for the customers of Amtrak and our commuter partners.

Amtrak Knew of Flaw That Caused Penn Station Derailment

Two recent train derailments at Pennsylvania Station in New York that created major travel disruptions were caused by track defects, Amtrak officials said on Thursday, increasing concerns about the aging infrastructure at North America’s busiest train station.

Officials also acknowledged that they had been aware of a defect on the tracks at the site of a derailment on Monday before it occurred, but did not recognize the urgency of the problem.

The derailment of a New Jersey Transit train on Monday resulted in four days of extraordinary upheaval for hundreds of thousands of commuters across the region. Regular train service was scheduled to return to Penn Station on Friday morning, Amtrak officials said.

Click here to read the full story.

Penn Station commute from hell continues

From Staff Reports, New York Post, April 7, 2017, 6:46 a.m.

Rush hour hell will continue Friday, because Amtrak didn’t complete work on damaged rails at Penn Station when it said it would, the MTA said.

“Because Amtrak crews did not finish track repair work by 4 a.m. as promised and because they did not grant access to tracks overnight so that Long Island Rail Road could pre-position trains, LIRR is forced to once again operate a reduced morning rush-hour schedule this morning, which impacts 14 trains,” the agency said in an early morning statement.

When the first two NJ Transit trains pulled into Penn Station on Friday morning, the engineers found several tracks still not ready for service, said an agency spokesman.

By 6:55 a.m., there was still one track that was unavailable to NJ Transit, and causing delays. The agency suggested its riders allow for more time to get where they need to go.

Click here to read the full story.

 

 

 

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