Smooth Sailing on the First Morning of Penn Station Track Repairs

Jeff Carter

The day of reckoning has come for rail commuters into New York City, as commuters brace for weeks-long track work at New York's Penn Station in what Gov. Cuomo is calling the "summer of hell".

Woodlawn resident Olga Figueroa, 55, took the No. 4 train in Brooklyn for an appointment, and said the line is always crowded.

"A lot of confusion and too many people gathered in one space", Lex Marshall, 35, of Morristown, New Jersey, said at New Jersey Transit's Hoboken Terminal. The 35-year-old says everybody's just bumping into each other, pushing each other to get to their destination. "We never tried anything like this before, and I'm looking forward to commuting a different way, so this could work for me".

With fewer platforms available, the fix work will complicate schedules for the three rail operators that use Penn Station: the national rail corporation Amtrak and the regional commuter train operators New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road.

A New Jersey Transit train got derailed as it entered in NY on Thursday night at Pennsylvania Station, causing another set of delays on all Amtrak trains and New Jersey Transit just days prior to the major repairs begin at the nation's busiest transit hub.

"This is going to be a tough couple of months", said Ronnie Hakim, interim executive director for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the LIRR, the Metro-North Railroad and New York City subways and buses. "Only then will we be able to create the transportation and transit system New Jersey deserves".

Less-disruptive track work will continue near Penn Station into 2018, Amtrak said.

He said some of the 150 volunteers directing commuters around will work harder in the future to steer people down both entrances.

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"I don't want to fool people that we're going to deliver 100 percent on-time performance", Naparstek said Friday. "Our customers seem to have done their homework".

Perhaps because the disruptions were so long planned, commuters had time to make contingency plans and nearly everyone AFP spoke to Monday said their journey had not been as bad as they had expecting. "How often do you get to take the ferry to work?" There is no platform capacity at Penn Station to accommodate any additional trains during rush hour. "I felt bad for the regular people who had to stand".

It also has two extra 7 trains on standby that can be brought in to help relieve congestion.

Authorities have asked commuters to give themselves more time to travel until the end of August when work is scheduled to be completed.

"At least it's summer", said Del Gales, 23, of Summit, New Jersey, a financial debt negotiator who estimated 40 minutes would be added to his commute each way.

After the derailment, the emergency workers boarded the train checking for injured passengers, said Rich Denison, another passenger.

Booker said it's time for Trump to "put up or shut up".

Commuters facing a summer of disruption on New York City-area railway lines took to social media Monday to ask for prayers, gripe about delays and bemoan sluggish service. They argue the plan, funded in part by private companies who will get retail leasing rights at the new hall, mainly benefits those firms while ignoring the immediate needs of MTA commuters grappling with systemwide malfunctions.

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