News & Reviews News Wire MTA runs into early delays with Penn Station Access project

MTA runs into early delays with Penn Station Access project

By | January 31, 2023

Completion pushed back seven months because Amtrak access issues, meeting is told

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Map showing location of new Metro-North stations in the Bronx
Four Metro-North stations will be built in the Bronx as part of the Penn Station Access project. Metropolitan Transportation Authority

NEW YORK — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority project to bring Metro-North commuter rail service to Penn Station via Amtrak’s Hell Gate Line, while building four new stations in the Bronx, has barely begun — but is already facing notable delays.

Bloomberg reports Jamie Torres-Springer, president of MTA Construction and Development, told an MTA board committee meeting Monday that the Penn Station Access project is facing a seven-month delay. Groundbreaking was held in December. The problem, Torres-Springer said, is that Amtrak has not been providing full access and manpower needed for the MTA to proceed with its work.

“The good news is that Amtrak acknowledges these problems and in part, due to that strong agreement that we negotiated with them, they’re working collaboratively with us on a recovery schedule,” Torres-Springer said.

Still, the target for completion of the project has slid from March to October of 2027. The contract for the $2.87 billion project was awarded in December 2021 [see “MTA awards contract …,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 16, 2021]. More information on the project is available here.

The MTA has said that problems with Amtrak were a major contributor to cost overruns on the East Side Access project, which was finally concluded last week with the opening of the Grand Central Madison station [see “Grand Central Madison, terminal for MTA’s East Side Access, debuts,” News Wire, Jan. 25, 2023]. Construction of the Long Island Rail Road line to Grand Central required coordination with Amtrak for construction at Harold Interlocking — the nation’s busiest — and the MTA has said there were major problems with that coordination.

“This is the dynamic that got East Side Access into the hole,” MTA CEO Janno Lieber said at Monday’s meeting, according to the website The City. “There’s probably a billion dollars of extra costs in East Side Access, maybe more, from the problems that that project had.”

13 thoughts on “MTA runs into early delays with Penn Station Access project

  1. So in light of this, any predictions from you all how the B&P Tunnel and Gateway projects will go? Changing the subject slightly, Stevie sure laid it on thick yesterday for “Amtrak Joe” at ceremonies for the start of the former. An ALC42 hauling a few Amfleets showed up behind the President as he was making a speech. One photo had the cab of a Acela 2 in the immediate area. Meanwhile, it’s an endless stream of horror stories of trains in the Midwest on the “Passenger Trains” forum at

  2. The transcontiental railroad of 1869 took only 7 years to build and under some of the most harshest and brutal conditions tthat the builders faced. The orginal Contract One Interborough subway line from City Hall to 145th Street only took 4 years to build from 1900 to 1904 and there are many other engineering examples I could list here but for lack of space. All this points out that today with all the modern advances in construction, materials and equipment, it takes longer and many years to complete Cost over runs, political boondoggles, endless surveys and studies environmental hearings and meetings and nothing ever gets done or only half completed. Oh and did or should I also mention the Second Avenue Stubway in Manhattan and the talk is that it will take 7 to 10 years just to finish the remaining part to 125th Street and that now there is uncertainy as to where the final terminal will be whether it is 125th Street and Swcond Avenue or extending it to Park Aveue and 125th Street. Delays and disputes and uncertainy. But then again this is what happens when you get the government and public officials in on the project. I might add that all the great railroading construction and engineering projects were done and completed and in service by private enterprise and men of great vision and determination and resolve to get someting done and completed to serve the traveling public
    Joseph C. Markfelder

    1. You understate your case, Jospeh. It wasn’t one subway that got done in just a few years, it was pretty much the entirety of BMT and IRT that got built in just a few years. Then when IND came later that took only a few years.

  3. OK, let’s review:
    1. MTA just concluded a major project behind schedule and is blaming Amtrak for a cost overrun of $1 billion.
    2. While that was still going on MTA signed another “strong” contract with Amtrak for another huge project, presumably with the expectation that the problems confronted in the first project wouldn’t happen this time.
    3. Less than 2 months into the new project, problems have arisen with Amtrak that have already set the schedule back 6 months. So if one were to extrapolate those numbers out for an even bigger laugh, that would mean that after 1 year we can expect delays totaling 36 months, and so on.
    Questions for the esteemed Mr./Ms. Torres-Springer:
    1. What aspect(s) of this contract you negotiated make it “strong”? It seems as if you have absolutely no leverage with Amtrak since you let the situation get so far out of hand in such a ridiculously short period of time.
    2. Why then should you not be summarily dismissed from your current position? No worries, though; you would fit right in at the DC Metro, or at my former employer, the US Postal Service.

  4. Is this another lack of Amtrak personnel? Amtrak delayed the east side LIRR access project especially around Harold. Time for Schumer to step in ?

  5. Perhaps the can ical folks should note the Long Island Railroad third-track project–completed on time and under budget.

  6. One, the stations are not new, TRAINS. NHRR and NYW&B ran local serice there. The remments of the old stations can be seen.
    Two, a no brainer that Amtrak is involved in the cost overruns and the limited progress in the Bronx.

  7. When this project is finished (if on time on the new schedule) Co-op City will be about sixty years old. About time it gets some fixed rail transit.

    Glenview, Illinois, did about sixty years better with the METRA stop at Glen at the new residential development there.

  8. I expect by the time this project is done, it will be years behind schedule and hundreds of millions over budget. In other words, a typical huge government project.

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