LIRR-Amtrak deal to enhance East River service - New York News

LIRR-Amtrak deal to enhance East River service

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MYFOXNY/AP-- Improved maintenance of the East River tunnels used by Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road is in the works following a deal brokered by Sen. Charles Schumer and Amtrak.

Amtrak owns the tunnels and uses them for service to and from Boston. The LIRR relies on the tunnels to an even greater extent. Amtrak says they both will benefit from the enhancements.

Sen. Schumer and Amtrak Chairman Anthony Coscia  met in September to discuss the issue.

"This past July 17th, LIRR trains were delayed during the evening rush-hour due to a broken rail inside Amtrak's East River Tunnels. This past August 19th, an eastbound LIRR train was stuck in the East River Tunnel after power to the third rail went out. Most recently, this past Thursday a joint rail bar failed in Tunnel 3 of the East River Tunnel overnight, causing delays during the morning rush-hour commute," said Sen. Schumer.

A major goal is to make upgrades before more breakdowns occur in the aging infrastructure

The plans include an improved inspection program and replacement of track segments that are prone to failure.

"These tunnels are the weakest link in the commute of hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders, and by bringing them up to a state of good repair we'll reduce the frequency of the maddening delays, reroutes and cancellations that currently happen far too often. By committing to repairing and upgrading the tunnels, Amtrak is committing to improve the day to day life of almost anyone who rides the LIRR," said Sen. Schumer.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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