It could be another challenging weekend for NJ Transit riders heading for New York.

Amtrak maintenance work may cause 30-minute delays in and out of Penn Station New York for NJ Transit riders all weekend on the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line and Morris & Essex Line. The work starts Friday night at 11 p.m. and goes through 5 a.m. on Monday morning.

The work is part of Amtrak's ongoing Infrastructure Renewal program at the nation's busiest railroad station, which has been in service since 1910. The work this summer has focused on switches and turnouts that are part of the railroad interlocking system that  directs Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road and NJ Transit trains heading east and west from the East River tunnels.

NJ Transit has been plagued by dozens of cancelled trains on weekends; last weekend 24 trains were cancelled. The most common reason offered is "engineer availability," which the railroad blames on a lack of engineers trained during the Christie administration

"It’s important to note that replenishing the ranks of locomotive engineers is a long-lead time effort. Each class takes 20 months to train before they can operate passenger service," spokeswoman Nancy Snyder said regarding previous weekends of cancellations, adding that 11 of the first 12 graduates are now working for NJ Transit has three more engineer classes scheduled to graduate in 2019.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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