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Rail News Home Amtrak

4/7/2017



Rail News: Amtrak

Track problems caused recent Penn Station derailments, Amtrak's Moorman says


A New Jersey Transit derailment earlier this week stemmed from a wide gauge track condition, according to Amtrak
Photo – Amtrak

Amtrak has determined that problems with its own track caused a New Jersey Transit derailment at New York City's Penn Station earlier this week, as well as a March 24 Acela Express derailment at the station.

The NJ Transit derailment, which occurred April 3, appears to have stemmed from a wide gauge condition due to defective wood ties, Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Wick Moorman said in a statement yesterday.

In the case of the Acela Express derailment, there was a mismatch between two pieces of rail that connected together in a curve, which created a "step-like condition" that contributed to a wheel of the train derailing, Moorman said.

"We are working around the clock to both repair the damage caused by the [NJ Transit derailment] and to ensure that we have no other track problems in this busiest and most important terminal," he said.

To help remedy the issues, Amtrak also immediately surveyed all other sites at the station that could have the same condition and confirmed that none were found. In addition, the railroad changed its specs to eliminate the possibility of a mismatched condition, Moorman said.

Furthermore, Amtrak launched joint inspections with the Federal Railroad Administration to ensure that all aspects of its infrastructure at Penn Station are in "good order," he added.

The April 3 incident caused eight of the station's 21 tracks to go out of service, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Amtrak today restored service on all but one track at Penn Station, NJ Transit officials said in a press release this morning.

However, MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) was forced to cancel 10 morning rush-hour trains heading to the station because Amtrak didn't complete all the necessary track repairs.

The national passenger railroad also failed to grant access to tracks overnight so that LIRR could pre-position trains, LIRR officials said in a press release.



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