As Amtrak tries to fix various problems that have frustrated commuters for the past few months by planning major track rehab this summer, it turns out the transit agency is weighing another option: Diverting some train routes to Grand Central Terminal.
The summer plan would involve "significant service" disruptions as Amtrak looks to fix aging tracks and other infrastructure, reportedly between July 7th and July 25th, and again from August 4th to August 28th. The work may continue into 2018.
Recently, the Times Union reported, "To relieve pressure at Penn, Amtrak has been studying switching at least some of its trains from the Empire Corridor back to Grand Central. While Amtrak officials didn't confirm that some trains will use Grand Central, a source said train crews are being offered the opportunity to bid for those runs."
"To be able to have that option and alleviate some of the sheer number of trains going into Penn Station … is a good option. I’m sure there are people who would enjoy this experience, but my understanding is it’s only temporary," Gary Prophet, president of the Empire State Passengers Association, told Politico.
The experience at Grand Central Terminal is light years from Penn Station. Amtrak President and CEO Charles "Wick" Moorman told NY State lawmakers last week that Penn Station handles "1,300-plus weekday train movements on an infrastructure designed in 1910 for less than half the current volume. For perspective on this, Grand Central Terminal handles only roughly two-thirds the number of daily trains on double the number of train tracks, compared to Penn Station."
For every happy commuter on the Empire Corridor excited about this news... well, pour one out for those who use NJ Transit:
Only a 38 minute ride from Newark to NY today! Cellll-ebrate good ti.....oh wait. Quickly reminded #PennStation infrastructure is that of a third world country. 5 minutes to get off the platform. #njtranshit #njtransit #njtransithell #newjerseytransit #amtraksucks #amtrak #commuting #delayed
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