New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean Statement on Amtrak’s Penn Station Repairs & Long-Term Rail Delays

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Highlights Importance of Gateway Project to Replace Century-Old Rail Tunnels

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said that Penn Station track repairs announced by Amtrak that will result in more than a year of potential rail delays show the great cost of delaying critical infrastructure work. The projects follow on the heels of several recent service disruptions that caused massive delays for NJ Transit commuters into Manhattan.

Sen. Tom Kean said that expected long-term delays from Penn Station track repairs announced by Amtrak show the great cost of deferring critical infrastructure work. (Amtrak)

“New Jersey commuters will once again pay the price for Amtrak’s failure to properly maintain its rails,” said Kean. “Recent derailments and service disruptions have demonstrated the risk of deferring maintenance on Amtrak’s aging rail infrastructure. It seems likely that work that may have caused a minor inconvenience at an earlier date will now result in major long-term delays. Amtrak should do everything possible to minimize the impact on commuters.”

The planned work will likely result in track closures at Penn Station in Manhattan and canceled trains. While some work is expected to take place over the summer, the full project is not expected to be completed until June of 2018.

Noting the poor state of the infrastructure at Penn Station, Kean pointed to the similarly distressed trans-Hudson rail tunnels that lead into the station as being in critical need of repair and replacement.

“At the very least, Penn Station has some level of redundancy with 21 tracks that can allow for some rails to be taken out of service for repair, albeit at a great inconvenience to commuters,” said Kean. “If either of the century-old tunnels that bring Northeast Corridor and NJ Transit rail traffic across the river fails, however, there is no real backup or redundancy. This should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who questions the critical importance of advancing the Gateway Tunnel project.”

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