The emergency Penn Station repair work that inspired Governor Andrew Cuomo's now-infamous "summer of hell" tagline—which has become a catchall for each derailment, stalled subway train and rush hour meltdown since—will finish on time, Amtrak announced Thursday.
Track repairs have continued apace while many New Yorkers focus on the ongoing subway crisis, and regular service is now scheduled to resume on Tuesday, September 5th.
"We thank customers for their patience while we renew the infrastructure at New York Penn Station. We also appreciate the collaboration and support of our commuter partners, NJ Transit and the Long Island Rail Road," said Amtrak Co-CEO Wick Moorman. "Our engineering forces are making great progress and we look forward to resuming scheduled operations."
Amtrak has already completed more than six of the eight scheduled weeks of repair work, according to the agency. Repairs have focused on a network of aging New Jersey Transit and Amtrak tracks on the station's western end, confirmed in the wake of mounting service delays, derailments, and residual commuter headaches.
The end goal is maintenance of the "tangle and mangle" of switches that make up the so-called A interlocking—a wide track configuration that allows train dispatchers to route trains entering the station from New Jersey and Washington.
"This is basically replacement work," Michael DeCataldo, Vice President of Amtrak Operations East, told reporters in May. "Really no new technology is going in. It's just replacing something that's been in the ground for 20 or 25 years, if not longer."
This spring Governor Cuomo publicly questioned Amtrak's ability to maintain Penn Station, the largest transit hub in its network, and suggested that Penn Station management be privatized or taken over by Port Authority or the state of New York. "Amtrak has had a track record of coming up with a schedule and the actuality has no connection whatsoever to a schedule," the Governor chided.
Cuomo's Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his apparently incorrect prediction.
[Update 2:30 p.m.]: "I want to thank our customers for their patience and willingness to try the temporary travel options, as well as our employees for their hard work to make the transition as smooth as possible," stated MTA Chairman Joe Lhota.