LIRR Needs To Change Amtrak Agreement

I don’t need to remind Long Island Rail Road riders how much of a nightmare the Monday night PM rush commute was. Due to an emergency rail condition in one of the East River tunnels, the LIRR was forced to cancel 21 eastbound trains & suspend all westbound service into Penn Station.

The repairs which were done by Amtrak due to the agreement that they own & maintain Penn Station needs to change according to MTA Board Member Mitchell Pally. Alfonso A. Castillo of Newsday has more:

MTA and LIRR officials lashed out against Amtrak Thursday morning, calling it “unacceptable” that the agency conducted repairs in a Penn Station tunnel during the Passover rush Monday, severely disrupting Long Island Rail Road service.

At a Manhattan meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board’s railroad committee, board member Mitchell Pally said the MTA should look to change its agreement with Amtrak, which owns and maintains Penn Station, so that the LIRR takes over the maintenance of the tracks it uses.

“They run the least amount of trains and have the least amount of people in the service, and run the program,” Pally said of Amtrak.

Click here for the complete report.

While some might say Mr. Pally is overreacting to the situation that occurred, I feel he makes an excellent point. While I understand the agreement that is in place, it does not make sense for Amtrak to have final says on things when they are the minority service provider from the facility.

They have a history of being extremely ineffective in terms of making timely decisions & getting things done. Unless the rail condition was of an extreme emergency variety, they had no business waiting until the PM rush to do the work. While 21 trains does not sound like a lot, that is a huge number for the LIRR considering it is the nation’s largest commuter railroad in terms of passenger loads.

I think this incident should lead to an overhaul of the agreement as it would benefit all parties involved & just make common sense. It will be interesting to see if Amtrak will be willing to change the status quo.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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[...] control of Penn Station & its actual track facilities was MTA Board Member Mitchell Pally who lashed out & called the agreement “unacceptable”. We can now add a new person to the list of [...]

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