Amtrak’s huge construction project won’t fix much

Long Island railroad and New Jersey Transit riders will go straight from the summer of hell into the autumn of despair.

The massive construction project that Amtrak is doing over the next two months at Penn Station won’t even come close to fixing all of the issues that have been causing chronic delays, cancellations, and stuck trains at and around the transit hub, experts told The Post.

“These repairs aren’t going to address signals, they aren’t going to address power,” said William Henderson of the LIRR Commuter Council.

“There are a whole host of problems around Penn Station that this won’t fix.”

Amtrak’s eight-week repair schedule, from July 8 through Sept. 1, is meant to tackle track issues only.

LIRR commuters who were delayed during both morning and evening rush hours by power issues as recently as Thursday say they are angry that other concerns won’t be addressed.

“I wish they would spend more time fixing’’ the whole system, said Jordan Hirsch, who commutes from Syosset, LI. “It’s frustrating that they are going to be interrupting service and the problem still isn’t going to be solved.”

Luis Valcarcel, 53, of West Orange, NJ, said Amtrak, which owns the tracks, shouldn’t bother if it isn’t going to do the job right.

“There is no sense in doing it if it’s not going to fix it,” he said. “There are going to be a lot of pissed-off commuters.”

Henderson’s group was hoping that Amtrak would do some work on its signals this summer along with toiling on the tracks, but the company plans to stick to its original game plan.

“Working on a project such as signals simultaneously would take additional resources and further limit capacity at the station,” said Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert.

“Once the renewal project is completed, these resources will shift to other projects around the station,” he said.

The infrastructure at Penn Station, which is owned by Amtrak, has gotten so bad in the past few months that two trains have derailed, each causing massive delays. And commutes have been plagued with failing signals and power, sometimes causing riders to get stuck in tunnels for hours.


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