'Summer of Hell' Begins on Dire Note at Penn Station

Three days before America's busiest train station what will be two long months of repair work, dubbed "the summer of hell," the third derailment this year occurred, delaying most Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains.
July 11, 2017, 8am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"None of the 180 passengers and crew members aboard the New Jersey Transit train that came off the tracks was injured, but the derailment underscored how hazardous the condition of the tracks there has become," report Patrick McGeehan and Elizabeth Tarbell for The New York Times.

The derailment occurred at a section where trains entering the station from a tunnel under the Hudson River are switched onto one of the 21 tracks leading to platforms beneath Penn Station’s main concourse. Officials of Amtrak, which owns and operates the station, have admitted that the junction, which is known as an interlocking, is long overdue for an overhaul.

A CBS This Morning 3:47-minute news video on the summer repair work at Penn Station includes narration by CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave and Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman.

Moorman will stay on the job through the end of the year. On Wednesday, "Richard Anderson, who spearheaded Delta's growth into the world's largest airline by market value when he retired as chief executive in May 2016, will become president and co-CEO," according to Reuters.

McGeehan and Sarah Maslin Nir report on July 10 after the morning rush hour that "the first day of track closings and disruptions at New York’s Pennsylvania Station unfolded relatively smoothly on Monday, as riders detoured onto buses, ferries and subways."

The eight weeks of intensive repairs will reduce the station’s capacity during the morning and evening rush hours by more than 20 percent. The reduction forced Amtrak and the two commuter railroads that use Penn Station — the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit — to revise their schedules.

The July 6 derailment follows an April 3  NJ Transit derailment in the station and a minor Amtrak Acela derailment on March 24. Both were determined to be caused by track defects, emphasizing the need for the repair work.

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Published on Friday, July 7, 2017 in The New York Times
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