April 6, 2017 Statement from Amtrak President and CEO Wick Moorman on New York Penn Station

NEW YORK – I apologize to everyone who has been inconvenienced by the recent delays and cancellations at New York Penn Station. It’s our job to make sure that commuters and intercity passengers can safely and reliably travel along the Northeast Corridor and we know we let them down with these recent derailments. Our customers and partners deserve better.

I have just visited with our hard-working crews and we expect to have all tracks at New York Penn Station at full service tomorrow.

Based on our recent investigations, we can confirm that problems with our tracks in Penn Station were a cause of both recent derailments. With the March 24 Acela Express derailment, we had 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 our Acela Express trainset derailing. This week’s NJ Transit derailment appears to have been caused by a wide gauge condition due to defective wood ties.

We are working around the clock to both repair the damage caused by the second incident and to ensure that we have no other track problems in this busiest and most important terminal. The immediate steps we’ve taken to fix the issues we’ve identified so far include:

  • Upon discovering this misaligned rail, we immediately surveyed all other sites at the station that could possibly have the same condition, and we can confirm that none were found.
  • We have changed our specs to eliminate the possibility of a mismatched condition.
  • We have launched joint inspections with the Federal Railroad Administration to ensure that all aspects of our infrastructure at New York Penn Station are in good order.  We will share the full results of these inspections with both NJ Transit and Long Island Railroad so that they understand what we’ve found.
  • We are assembling a team that will be dedicated to address any maintenance deficiencies at the station and will reprioritize our work and support of various other projects to ensure, first and foremost, the basic condition of the terminal.
  • I am leading a comprehensive review of our maintenance practices and Engineering department, including bringing in independent experts, to ensure we have the right processes and organization to maintain and improve our infrastructure.

For more than 40 years Amtrak has worked alongside commuter rail lines on the Northeast Corridor. It is a proven partnership and we are dedicated to providing the levels of service necessary so that people can rely on rail travel. We are committed to providing a consistently reliable transportation service for everyone – and to provide a better experience for the customers of Amtrak and our commuter partners.

For More Information

Kimberly Woods

About Amtrak®

Amtrak – America’s Railroad® – is dedicated to safe and reliable mobility as the nation’s intercity passenger rail service provider and its high-speed rail operator. With our state and commuter partners, we move people, the economy and the nation forward, carrying more than 30 million Amtrak passengers for each of the past six years. Formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is governed by a 10-member board of directors, nine of whom are appointed by the President of the United States plus the Amtrak CEO. Anthony R. Coscia is board chairman and Jeffrey R. Moreland is vice chairman.  Amtrak operates more than 300 trains daily – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – connecting more than 500 destinations in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Learn more at Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and other information. Check us out at blog.Amtrak.com, Like us on Facebook.com and Follow us on Twitter @Amtrak.