The continuing war for New York: Penn Station getting better, but 700 passengers on two trains still were stranded; LIRR gives the wealthy the best equipment; the ongoing agony of the MTA and subways

July 17, 2017

Penn Station Track Work Slightly Ahead of Schedule, Amtrak Says

By Elise Young, Bloomberg News; July 14, 2017

Workers at New York’s Pennsylvania Station are slightly ahead of schedule in the eight-week maintenance plan that has upended commutes by reducing train service into Manhattan.

Crews at Amtrak’s depot replaced switches and made other repairs at “A Interlocking,” a web of tracks in the area of two derailments in April and March, according to Scot Naparstek, chief operating officer of the national passenger railroad. Though New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had predicted “the summer of hell,” major troubles failed to materialize for New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road riders forced to alter or even suspend their commutes.

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Two stuck trains at Penn Station strand 700 riders as rescue train sent to help also stalls

By Thomas Tracy, New York Daily News; July 15, 2017

The so far, so good Summer of Hell at Penn Station hit a major road bump Saturday when two trains lost power, stranding more than 700 riders — and one of the rescue trains sent to help also stalled.

Amtrak authorities said electrical issues with overhead wires were to blame for the latest woes at the beleaguered transit hub.

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New trains for Hamptons crew means no AC for LIRR riders

Some Long Island Rail Road passengers are being forced to commute on a dingy old train with broken air-conditioning — because the newer rides have been allocated to the pampered Hamptons crowd for the summer.

“I guess the richer people get to have the air-conditioning before me,” griped Lisa Ludwig, 51, of Huntington as she boarded the aging train on the Port Jefferson line.

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The Awful Decline of the New York City Subway System

By Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic; July 13, 2017

Okay, what the hell happened to the New York subway?

It wasn’t so long ago that New Yorkers could smugly look to cities like Boston (Aww, what a darling toy train!) and Washington (Six whole lines? Adorable!) and appreciate the scope and reliability of their underground transit system.

But between fare hikes, overcrowding, frequent breakdowns, mechanical failures, signal gaps, janky cars, and rickety tracks, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is facing millions of angry riders and a multibillion-dollar repair job that is likely to span decades.

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De Blasio tells the MTA to ‘put up or shut up’

By Will Bredderman, Crain’s New York Business; July 14, 2017

Mayor Bill de Blasio made his most aggressive call yet for change at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority—asserting Friday that if Chairman Joseph Lhota cannot present a credible plan for ending the constant breakdowns and delays, the state should reconsider the entity’s entire structure.

He did not specify what reform would entail, but indicated that buses and subways should get a bigger share of the MTA budget. he further hinted that control of buses and subways should be handed to city government. The MTA is a state authority essentially controlled by the governor, and the mayor’s appointees cast just four of 14 MTA board votes.

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Opinion: How to build transportation systems that pay New Yorkers back

By Thomas J. Spearing III, Crain’s New York Business; July 14, 2017

New York City’s transportation system is among the most extensive in the world, enabling billions of passenger trips every year. But it’s also among the oldest and most overburdened because of increased usage, deteriorating facilities and underinvestment. From Penn Station tie-ups to subway derailments, the metro area’s infrastructure is signaling every day: It’s time to invest and rebuild these assets.

Our near-term focus must be to ensure every element of our transportation system is in a state of good repair, so the system is effective, efficient and safe. Fiscal constraints are an unacceptable excuse for allowing it to deteriorate.

Click here to read the full story.

Opinion: NY state is robbing the subways to buy Amtrak a new ‘home’

By Nicole Gelinas, New York Post; July 16, 2017

Two-thirds of New Yorkers think Gov. Cuomo is doing a bad job with the subways, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. But this dismal showing hasn’t spurred Cuomo to change his ways when it comes to an invisible part of how transit works: the money.

The state is now forcing even more debt onto the MTA for a project that won’t give commuters a payoff.

Click here to read the full story.





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