Christie halts Amtrak payments, calls for inspection


The same day the heads of NJ Transit and the Long Island Rail Road criticized Amtrak for the time it has taken to restore full service, Christie wrote a letter saying he had directed NJ Transit to withhold funds it normally pays Amtrak for maintenance and repairs until an independent inspection verifies that Amtrak's Northeast Corridor is in a state of good fix.

NJ Transit says it has given tens of millions of dollars to Amtrak for maintenance work under its contract.

Commuters trying to get to and from Penn Station are enduring a fourth day of delays, detours, and cancellations this morning following Monday's "minor" NJ Transit derailment in the station.

A woman sits in the waiting room of the Hoboken Terminal as commuters rush past to catch trains at the Hoboken Terminal, Wednesday, April 5, 2017, in Hoboken, N.J. The heads of the two major commuter rail lines that use New Y.

Amtrak made its announcement on Wednesday after the heads of the two major commuter rail lines that use Penn Station leveled strong criticisms and called for swifter action.

Moorman also said that it will create a special team to prioritize maintenance issues at Penn Station and, if needed, redeploy workers from other projects. The Long Island Rail Road and NJ Transit have been operating on abbreviated schedules since Monday's derailment. NJ Transit Northeast Corridor Train 3926, the 7:31 from Trenton, had a slow-speed derailment while pulling into track 9 at Penn Station at about 9 a.m. Monday.

Amtrak says one derailment was caused by a misaligned rail, the second by weak timbers underneath the track. Buses and New York Waterway ferries are honoring NJ Transit's rail tickets.

The lines had been running on a holiday schedule which cut service and resulted in delays and overcrowding for commuters.

"It is Amtrak's responsibility to take immediate action and all corrective actions to resolve the continuing problems at Penn Station New York for the sake of all of our customers and the region's transit system", he said at a news conference Wednesday.

In a letter to Amtrak, acting Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Fernando Ferrer called the problems "unacceptable infrastructure failures" and said they "leave the clear impression that Amtrak is not aggressively maintaining its tracks, switches and related equipment".

Amtrak released a statement Wednesday saying it values its partnership with commuter railroads and shares their frustration.

Amtrak's CEO says full rail service will be restored at New York's Penn Station by Friday morning. He also called for NJ Transit to have a bigger say in how the station is operated. He says Amtrak has requested the Federal Railroad Administration join in a "thorough review" of infrastructure at Penn Station to evaluate current conditions.

Monday's derailment of an inbound New Jersey Transit commuter train damaged switches, signals and rails at a spot in the station where two tracks emerge from the tunnel and diverge to a total of 21 tracks inside the station.