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Amtrak plans more track closures this winter, report says

Amtrak workers repair tracks in New York's Penn Station
Amtrak workers repair tracks in New York’s Penn Station (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

WASHINGTON — Are NJ Transit commuters in for a Winter of Hell?

Amtrak is planning to close three of 21 tracks at New York Penn Station in February, April and May in a “state of good repair plan” obtained by NorthJersey.com .

According to the report, work to replace tracks would take Track 15 out of service starting Feb 23 followed by Track 14 on April 6 and Track 13 on May 18, each for 30 days at a time.

All three tracks are on the western side of Penn Station and are used by NJ Transit, according to a map of Penn Station.

During the nearly $30 million summer rehabilitation project at Penn Station, Amtrak officials hinted at future work in the spring but offered no specifics. The project reduced capacity by 25 percent in July and August.

NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder said Amtrak this summer began considering possible extended late winter/early spring work. She anticipates they will provide the partners at Penn Station enough lead time to “minimize impact to our customers.”

During a customer service committee meeting on Wednesday,  Executive Director Steve Santoro mentioned seeing the Amtrak plan but the impact on service was not discussed.

Amtrak would not provide specifics of their “good repair plan” to New Jersey 101.5.

“As we have stated previously, we have more work planned throughout the fall, winter and into next year to improve other areas of track within New York Penn Station. Most of this work will be handled during our normal weekend maintenance periods. We are currently working with our partners on these plans and will share when finalized,” Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods wrote in an email.

The summer work affected the Morris & Essex Line with most weekday Midtown Express stopping at Hoboken Terminal. PATH, NY Waterway and NJ Transit buses all cross-honored tickets to continue trips to Manhattan. Reduced fares were offered to passengers.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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