Amtrak workers repairing tracks at Pennsylvania Station in New York after one of two derailments there in the last month. Amtrak acknowledged that its tracks were in poor shape and not being properly maintained.
Amtrak at a Junction: Invest in Improvements, or Risk Worsening Problems
by Emma G. Fitzsimmons | The New York Times | April 24, 2017
The derailments have set off alarms over Amtrak’s management of the station, its safety record and the railroad’s perennial funding problems. The days of commuting turmoil prompted by the accidents also offered an ominous preview of the future if the railroad’s aging infrastructure is not soon overhauled.
Amtrak, a favorite punching bag for Republicans, could face major cuts under President Trump. His budget proposed eliminating federal funding for Amtrak’s long-distance routes and would slash a grant program that Amtrak was counting on to build a new Hudson River rail tunnel. Yet many long-distance routes traverse parts of the country that voted for Mr. Trump, including the City of New Orleans line, which runs between Chicago and New Orleans.
Then there is the fragile infrastructure at Penn Station, North America’s busiest train station. The recent derailments closed several tracks, leading to cancellations and delays across the three railroads that share the station: Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road.
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Amtrak explains crews at work after the derailment at Penn Station: "The truck in the back is a truck vacuum sucking out ballast so ties can be removed and replaced, other trackmen are working on replacing damaged rail and switch components. The crane is being used to lift remove/replace track components and several of the workers (signalmen) are replacing destroyed switch machines. You can see trains in both pictures moving by the work area."