It’s been “another very good week” for the ongoing infrastructure renewal project at Penn Station, a key Amtrak official said Friday.
In a weekly conference call updating the progress of the work, Amtrak’s chief operating officer, Scot Naparstek, said the project continued to move along “a little bit ahead of schedule.”
During the fifth week of the work, Amtrak crews installed several new switches and other track components at the complex “A Interlocking” area just west of the Penn Station platforms, installed 700 feet of new track, and finished pouring concrete for a rebuilt track 10 inside the station.
The work was carried out without “any major problems or issues,” according to Naparstek.
“We’re happy and continue to be happy with the performance of the station, the train movements and, frankly, the schedules that the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and ourselves have put together,” Naparstek said.
The summerlong project, which is supposed to wrap up over Labor Day weekend, follows a series of major service disruptions caused by infrastructure failures — including three derailments since March in the A Interlocking area.
Naparstek said the lack of infrastructure-related service disruptions at Penn since the work began is evidence that A Interlocking “was the right area to approach first.”
The project has necessitated taking at least three of Penn’s 21 tracks out of service for most of the summer — resulting in the LIRR reducing rush hour service into and out of Penn.
Amtrak also on Friday announced it had hired Los Angeles-based AECOM, in partnership with Network Rail of London to conduct “an independent review of the interaction, coordination and collaboration” among the different railroad passenger concourses within Penn Station, including those operated by the LIRR.
At the conclusion of its study, AECOM will provide recommendations to improve the design, functionality, communications and coordination at Penn, according to Amtrak.
“We have made significant progress in renewing rail infrastructure at Penn Station and are now taking steps to improve the passenger areas,” Amtrak co-chief executive officer Charles “Wick” Moorman said in a statement.
MTA officials on Friday did not comment on the review but said they were monitoring Amtrak’s progress at Penn Station.