New York Today: Penn Station Problems, Then and Now


Fresh commuter headaches ahead?


Good morning on this washed-out Wednesday.

Tens of thousands of area commuters could have a bumpy ride ahead.

Amtrak officials are considering closing some tracks at Pennsylvania Station for an extended period for repairs.

That could mean crowded trains, long delays and route changes for riders on New Jersey Transit trains and the Long Island Rail Road.

The New Jersey Transit derailment on April 3, which prompted days of travel headaches, is just the latest chapter in a long history of fires, strikes, bombs, electrical problems, power outages, crashes and other problems that have temporarily shut down tracks or reduced train service at the nation’s busiest transit hub.

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Here are a few of the more painful transit troubles to strike Penn Station:

2012: After Hurricane Sandy, it took four days to pump three million gallons of water out of the Hudson and East River tunnels so that trains could run again. Commuters had to squeeze into buses to get into Manhattan. Nearly two weeks later, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains were running at less than two-thirds of the regular schedule. The tunnels still need repairs.

1985: L.I.R.R. service was reduced because of a renovation at Penn Station. The railroad handed out brochures that warned of months of “obstacle-course commuting.” Even after the period of delayed trains, the station remained cramped and messy when asbestos was found in the ceiling and had to be scraped off by hand, delaying renovations for years.

But Penn Station has shown it can be resilient.

1963–69: The original 1910 Beaux-Arts station was demolished in 1963, to the dismay of preservationists, making way for the current facility under Madison Square Garden. Even during the demolition and reconstruction, however, the trains ran as usual.

Here’s what else is happening:


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Another day of misty eyeglasses and dank socks.

More rain is on the way, most of it timed to your morning commute.

It feels as though the clouds are squeezing out the last few drops of water before they regroup for the week’s second act: a string of possible thunderstorms through the weekend.

Today’s high is 62.

Hair forecast: wet puppy.

In the News

• Two lawsuits assert that the city’s subway system discriminates against people with disabilities because of a shortage of elevators and electric lifts. [New York Times]

• A federal judge temporarily blocked President Trump’s effort to withhold money from so-called sanctuary cities. [New York…

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