Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT Work to Address Service Delays by Examining Infrastructure

Written by Jennifer McLawhorn, Managing Editor

NEW YORK – Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT are working to examine infrastructure following an increase of disruptions in New Jersey and New York Penn Station.

According to a release from Amtrak, the examination will focus on Amtrak infrastructure which includes the catenary, signals, and switches as well as NJ TRANSIT equipment. Namely, the pantograph that connects to the catenary. This decision comes after recent “several major service disruptions” that have reduced reliability along this area of the NEC. 

The actions both agencies plan to take include inspecting the catenary and track between Trenton and New York City extensively and frequently in order to identify any catenary issues that can cause pantograph damage. Additionally, they will visually inspect all pantographs at key stations, and “NJ TRANSIT has installed high-resolution cameras to inspect pantographs.” 

Along with reviews with industry experts to figure out the root cause and develop solutions to fix the issues, the helicopter catenary inspection and repair program will be expanded. This program takes high-resolution photos of the system and components which are then inspected. 

Reviews of Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT delays will take place in order to address any “sources of chronic delays.” Any longer-term actions to address state of good repair of Amtrak infrastructure will include “added resources to expedite testing of transformers in substations; pursuing additional grants to replace catenary, substations, and transmission, and signal lines, as well as support capital renewal; and evaluating methods to expand overnight work windows with service adjustments to accelerate renewal and repairs.”

Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner said, “We understand the impact the recent events had on both Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT customers and their families, and we share their frustration. . . It’s vital we work with NJ TRANSIT to identify the root cause of these disruptions and return to on-time service and the quality experience customers expect.”

NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett said, “NJ TRANSIT recognizes how disruptive these recent incidents have been to the quality of life of every rail customer who depends on the Northeast Corridor, and we are as frustrated as they are. . . NJ TRANSIT will continue to work jointly with Amtrak to identify the root causes of these incidents as quickly as possible to restore reliability for all our customers.”

Both agencies plan to issue regular reports that include their combined efforts and progress as well as any identified root causes. Once those root causes are identified, Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT will then seek out any additional necessary resources to address issues, all while advancing projects such as the Portal North Bridge and the Hudson Tunnel Project. 

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