Commuters, including tourists and financiers, had their first taste of the "summer of hell" on Monday, facing extended delays as fix work began on railway lines into New York City's Pennsylvania Station, the busiest passenger train hub for the business capital of the United States.
"Getting home is what I'm anxious about", said Corey Wright, 38, who commutes from Huntington, Long Island, to Penn Station.
Amtrak's plan for the accelerated work came after two trains derailed at Penn Station in less than two weeks this spring. 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.
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All three canceled some services, rerouted others, and warned travelers to expect delays throughout the duration of the repairs, which began on Monday and are scheduled to be done September 1.
"A lot of confusion and too many people gathered in one space", Lex Marshall, 35, of Morristown, New Jersey, said at New Jersey Transit's Hoboken Terminal.
After a smooth start early Monday, the halls leading from New Jersey Transit trains to PATH trains in Hoboken were packed for over an hour. "Everybody's just bumping into each other, pushing each other, to get to their destination".
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The oversight committee will hear testimony from NJ Transit, Amtrak, PATH and New York Waterways. When it's completed, rail riders will benefit from increased reliability from the up-to-date equipment in and around the station, but could still fall prey to other problems, such as electrical wire failures in the tunnel between NY and New Jersey, and signal and track problems in northern New Jersey east of Newark. He says some commuters also could be on vacation. "We have to survive, '" Codey said. "And most importantly, our customers seemed to have done their homework and made their choices quickly this morning and got about their business".
"It was crowded", she said.
The repairs, which are expected to stretch over the summer months, are part of a plan by Amtrak - the owner and operator of New York Penn Station - to resolve an increasing number of derailments that have led to massive delays for travelers. "I felt bad for the regular people who had to stand". To minimize disruption to the commuter services, Amtrak historically has done most of the track work overnight and on weekends.
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"The test - the second piece of this is tonight", said Charles Ingoglia, an NJ Transit spokesman said.