Christie threatens to block Amtrak funding until independent inspection occurs
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Apr 07, 2017,
Apr 07, 2017, 17:02
Full rail service at Penn Station is expected to be restored on the morning of April 7th, four days after Monday's derailment. But, NJ Transit said there was still work being done and warned that delays were possible. Moorman said the investigation confirmed a track problems that caused both of the derailments in the last few weeks.
Ferrer said in the letter that Moorman had assured him in phone calls this week that Amtrak was working diligently to fix the damaged equipment and restore service as quickly as possible.
On its website, Amtrak said Wednesday that it was "working as quickly and safely as possible to restore regularly scheduled operations" and its "top priority is the safety of our passengers, employees and the traveling public".
The governor said NJ Transit would cease the payments until an independent examination of Amtrak's equipment along the corridor has been conducted that demonstrates it is in good condition.
Moorman said Thursday he would begin personally reviewing infrastructure at all Amtrak stations as the company seeks to prevent future derailments.
Moorman cautioned Christie on Thursday, saying while he understood Christie's frustration, "withholding funding is not going to solve any of the problems".
As a result, he said, NJ Transit would withhold the $2.5 million monthly fee it pays Amtrak for use of Penn Station.
Moorland said that Monday's derailment was caused by a the "gauge of the rails widening because there were weakened timbers underneath", which crews have been working around-the-clock to fix and make sure there are no other track problems in the area of track 9.
On Wednesday, Christie also ordered NJ TRANSIT senior officials to personally appear at stations at Newark, Hoboken and NY to assist customers.
NJ Transit says to expect regular service from New York City's Penn Station, pending completion of Amtrak repairs.
"New York Penn Station is our busiest and most important station, and we take our role as host seriously and make every effort to keep it operating smoothly", Moor said in a statement.
On Wednesday, the MTA demanded a sit-down with executives of Amtrak, calling the derailment "the latest in a series of unacceptable infrastructure failures" and blasting Amtrak over the "pace of repairs".
"Defects like those that led to the two recent Penn Station derailments directly threaten the lives, safety and careers of Long Island commuters".
Customers are urged to check for train service alerts.