Summer arrived more than two weeks ago, but the heat on those who usually commute in and out of Penn Station will get really cranked up Monday. NY1 Transit Reporter Jose Martinez has that story.
Commuters at the country's busiest train station have, for months, been bracing for what awaits them Monday morning.
"It will be a 'Summer of Hell' for commuters," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said May 23 about the upcoming major repairs at Penn Station.
One which will see Long Island Railroad and New Jersey Transit trains in and out of Penn Station canceled or rerouted. Some Amtrak trains will go into Grand Central Terminal for the first time in 26 years.
"That's already a headache to get to where I got to go," one straphanger reflected inside the station. "So it's just crazy, especially since I got to get up so early."
The MTA said it's putting extra cars on Long Island Railroad (LIRR) trains to maintain capacity; though some trains will be diverted to railroad outposts in Queens and Brooklyn, where riders can then transfer onto already-crowded subway lines.
"It's going to be a real crunch for commuters. We're already dealing with a lot of overcrowding on all of the lines right now," said Nick Sifuentes, the deputy director of transit advocacy group, the Riders Alliance. "So what we're going to see is more people coming onto the subway."
MTA officials acknowledge the "Summer of Hell" will impact straphangers, but say suburban railroad riders will have plenty of options.
"Between at Hunters Point, the ferry, and the Number 7, and at Atlantic Terminal, the nine subway connections that will be available there — all of that has been coordinated," MTA Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim said in a phone interview.
The schedule shifts follow months of commuting chaos at Penn Station, where three trains have derailed since late March, the most recent of which was Thursday night.
Now comes at least two months of weekday service disruptions, and repairs to an interlocking section of the tracks that's vital to Penn Station and the more than 1,300 trains that pass through it daily.
"It allows the train dispatcher to move all those trains to very different tracks throughout the facility," Mike Decataldo, the vice president of operations for Amtrak, said May 25.
"So when we begin to remove and repair those components, it reduces the flexibility of that train dispatcher," Decataldo continued.
As well as that of so many Penn Station commuters.
Amtrak has said it hopes to complete the work by Sept. 1. Thousands of beleaguered commuters will be hoping the railroad can stick to that schedule.