A massive two-month fix project launches Monday at the busiest train station in the United States, and commuters used to regular delays and service disruptions are bracing for the worst.
Penn Station will lose 25 percent of its train capacity until September 1, and commuters are bracing for a major disruption during the "Summer of Commuting Hell". That means a 20 percent reduction in the number of trains from New Jersey and Long Island, leaving tens of thousands of commuters looking for alternative routes into Manhattan.
One harried New Jersey commuter suggested that finding a way to work every day was a task best suited for members of a club for geniuses. Six Empire Service trains will run between Albany-Rensselaer and Grand Central Terminal instead of Penn Station. But with almost all trains on his line rerouted to Hoboken, New Jersey, he has had to piece together a makeshift plan to cross the Hudson River to Manhattan.
About 7,400 NJ Transit riders on the Morris & Essex line will be forced to transfer in Hoboken weekdays after 7 a.m. instead being taken directly to Midtown Manhattan. "They should have planned better". It also reflects changes to the Crescent service running to and from New Orleans: That service will end in D.C. rather than New York City during the work.
Less-disruptive track work will continue near Penn Station into 2018, Amtrak said.
Some commuters are preparing for a "summer of hell", given separate recurring problems with New York's heavily used subway system.
The national rail corporation is undertaking the massive fix program and rents track and station space to NJ Transit and the MTA's LIRR.