Amtrak to Repair East River Tunnels

According to an announcement by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Amtrak will use $86 million in Superstorm Sandy federal recovery funds to perform maintenance work on four East River tunnels used by Amtrak, the Long Island Rail Road, and some NJ Transit trains enroute to or from Sunnyside Yard in Queens.  Several issues in the tunnels recently have delayed commuters, mainly Long Island Rail Road customers; problems have included broken rails.

Problems in the tunnels, owned by Amtrak, can have a severe impact on service because of the difficulty of removing derailed trains and of evacuating passengers.  Planned changes include replacing all of the old “jointed” rail segments, which are particularly prone to failure; improved track inspection; and a new, preemptive track maintenance and replacement program.  Sen. Schumer said he worked out the program following a September meeting with Amtrak Chairman Anthony Coscia.

 Reporting by the Associated Press (November 18); the Crain’s New York Business article is archived at A (subscribers only).