NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Has the commuter nightmare at Penn Station finally come to an end?
After a summer of shifted schedules and commuter delays, the heavily trafficked transit hub is about to be put to the test.
Regular service is set to be restored into and out of Penn Station Tuesday.
As the sun sets on summer vacation, the so called “Summer of Hell” has also come to an end.
Come rush hour Tuesday, commuters will trade suitcases for briefcases as people go back to the regular routine after eight weeks of Amtrak’s emergency repair work.
“Thank God it’s over,” Hackensack resident John Romero said.
Instead of dealing with the disruption of the train schedule, Romero has been catching the bus into the city for his security job.
It’s meant a lot of lost sleep.
“I work at seven,” he said. “I have t leave my house at four in order to get to work.”
Amtrak’s massive repair project closed several tracks since July 10th, diverting most NJ TRANSIT trains through Hoboken while cutting Long Island Rail Road service by twenty percent.
The drastic measure was taken after months of delays and dangerous derailments. Last week, company leaders patted themselves on the back for finishing the work on time.
“In total, this team installed 897 track ties, laid 1,800 feet of rail, that’s six football fields worth of track,” Amtrak engineer Gary Williams said.
But even with the project running on schedule, Amtrak is warning passengers their ride probably won’t be perfect.
“I’m not gonna sit in front of you and say we’re going to go 100 percent on time performance on Tuesday, September 5th. We’re going to make more reliable service,” Amtrak COO Scot Naparstek said.
Still, customers figure it’s got to be better than it was two months ago.
It’s so busy down here, we need it to run smoothly,” LIRR customer John Santamaria tells CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
Romero says he’s going to take the opportunity to stay home an hour longer than he has been.
With full service to Penn Station returning, alternate travel options like express busses during peak hours, discounted fares, and cross-honoring will be over.
Officials tell CBS2 additional work on the infrastructure at Penn Station will happen over the fall, winter, and spring mostly on nights and weekends.