NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A stuck Amtrak train snarled the morning commute Monday on day one of the new schedule changes for the second phase of Penn Station repairs.
The Amtrak train became stuck in one of the Hudson River tunnels, causing delays of up to an hour in some cases for Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT riders.
“It’s the greatest city in the world and this station is a disgrace,” commuter Julie Gold told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.
“Really frustrating cause it’s money, lost times lost,” said commuter Sarah Tabio.
Amtrak is now embarking on part two of its effort to fix the issues, part of it’s infrastructure renewal project, to overhaul the aging track system.
“If they can improve things, I’m all for it because it needs improvements and it has for years,” said Gold.
In order for the improvements to happen, eight Long Island Rail Road trains will be rerouted, five morning rush hour trains and three evening rush hour trains.
To ease the impact on riders, the LIRR is adding trains before and after rush hour and will add cars to increase seating capacity.
For NJ TRANSIT commuters, five trains will be affected — two during the morning and three during the evening on the Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line.
Amtrak officials say the impact will be less significant than phase one during last year’s so-called “summer of hell.”
The work being done during this portion of the repairs involves concrete demolition with steel replacement and signal improvements.
On day one of the new schedule, riders are trying to remain hopeful.
“So far I haven’t experienced anything too bad,” said commuter Michael Roman.
“I’m sure the repairs will make things much better in the long run but right now we just have to suck it up,” said commuter Martese Street.
“I’d rather be on the bus than be on the train,” another man told 1010 WINS’ John Montone.
Mark Epstein, chairman of the LIRR Commuter Council, said there could be a domino effect with the track work and winter weather troubles.
“We see the huge amount of frozen rails already,” he told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.
In a statement, a LIRR spokesperson said “The men and women at the LIRR are committed to getting everyone where they need to go. Our crews work diligently to ensure a safe and reliable system.”
The majority of the work being done is around the areas of track 15 and track 18 and is scheduled to last through May.
Rail officials say the most of it will be done on the weekends and during off-peak hours and they’re hoping for as little disruption to commuters as possible.