After Two Months of Repairs, Penn Station Reopens Tracks

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Jaeger Lajewski

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Commuters waiting for the train at Penn Station but how long will they have to wait?

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Commuters waiting for the train at Penn Station but how long will they have to wait?

Over the summer of 2017, many residents who work in New York City were forced to find other modes of transportation for their commute; but why?

Over time, the train tracks of Penn Station naturally began to wear and it started to show. Earlier this year, there were many derailments, delays, and other technical problems such as causing people to be stuck in trains, which according to The New York Times, is only the most recent of disturbances in Penn Station’s history (The New York Times). For instance, Hurricane Sandy caused a significant interruption into the stations usual schedule and in fact left some damage that until this summer, was yet to be repaired (New York Times). Due to all these factors and more, it was deemed quite necessary to close a number of tracks and slow down incoming traffic, in order to work on repairs.


The repairs took about eight weeks to complete (New York Times).


Most commuters expected the worst and the topic was even given the name  “The Summer of Hell”.  Many were forced to wait for other trains due to the density of the commuters, take ferries or multiple trains to arrive at their usual destination (New York Times).  


Despite the numerous previous complaints when contingencies were currently occurring, the expectations, and what some were forced to do, the opinions on the effects of the so called “ Summer of Hell” were pretty mixed (New York Times).


Thomas McNamara, who commutes to his office in the city stated, “ I decided to work from home due to the expected delays, although when I did go into work. I took the 6 am train going straight into New York and it worked much smoother than it does normally. Going home I would go through Hoboken which was also much smoother than the normal commute. It was better than my expectations but it was overall a negative, a longer commute. My schedule has gone back to what it was and so far for the first week, it has operated like it used to, not well. Unfortunately, the way I look at it, it looks like they just put bandaids on it.”


Marc Cozzolino, another commuter, says “I went in around the same time in the morning but coming I came home a little bit earlier because I had to go through Hoboken just to try and avoid the crowds. It was more of an annoyance but I have to say New Jersey Transit handled it well.  They kept the public updated. I think in the end it is going to be beneficial to all of us commuters because of hopefully have less derailments because of the track work. As time goes on whether there is going to be any derailments  but so far so good.”


Both commuters were similar in the feeling that the train system worked well during the construction but differed a bit in the opinion on whether the supposed fix will provide real benefits. From this point only time will tell if the major construction temporary closing of tracks was actually worth it.