New York lawmaker wants Amtrak to repair rail tunnels one way … and it could become law

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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Amtrak’s Empire Builder derailed on Saturday, Sept. 25. (Westbound Amtrak Crescent pictured)
David C. Lester

Repairing tunnels damaged by Hurricane Sandy would have a ripple effect on other projects in New York.

This is according to Rep. Richie Torres (D-N.Y.) and other officials, and the federal lawmaker wants to make Amtrak execute rehabilitation projects on East River train tunnels between Manhattan and Queens a certain way that will save time. Torres plans on introducing a bill that will require Amtrak to use the repair-in-place method for any track maintenance or rehabilitation.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) used the method to fix the L train tunnel, which also was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, and it prevented a 15-month closure of the line.

Two of Amtrak’s East River tunnels were flooded by Sandy and are still in need of repairs, and MTA officials insist that work in the tubes must be executed and complete before the Penn Access project can begin. MTA also needs to finish the East Side Access project, which involves the construction of a new East River tunnel, leading up to the Penn Access work.

Torres says Amtrak’s failure to put crews on the East River tunnels are impacting all of the projects, and the repair-in-place requirement would speed up the process.

Amtrak does not believe the East River tunnel repairs need to be complete before the Penn Station project can begin, and Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said on May 2 that each tunnel that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy needed to be closed so the repairs can be addressed properly.

Read more articles on rail tunnels and bridges.

Categories: Bridge/Retaining Walls/Tunnels, Commuter/Regional, ON Track Maintenance, Passenger, Rail News, Railroad News, Track Maintenance, Track Structure
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