In a hearing on Friday, Amtrak CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman and COO Scot Naparstek were questioned about recent accidents and service reliability issues, which have been wreaking havoc for the thousands of New Jersey residents who rely on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and Penn Station infrastructure. New Jersey lawmakers repeatedly emphasized the frustration felt by commuters, and that the status quo was not acceptable.
Assemblywoman Elizabeth Maher Muoio stressed that train delays have real impacts on people’s lives: “missed soccer games, missed family meals, missed school functions.” The executives stated in their defense that Amtrak has been sorely underfunded, while facing ever greater numbers of trains. Over 112 additional Amtrak trains have been added since 1976, a 72% increase, as well as over 309 New Jersey Transit trains across the same period, a more than 200% increase.
While reflecting on the past, Moorman and Naparstek also outlined Amtrak’s plan for the future, and the accelerated maintenance program that they were planning. As previously stated, Moorman emphasized the importance of collaboration between Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, and Long Island Rail Road. The preliminary plan that was released mentions two to three “major” service disruptions during the summer. Other work will be beginning as soon as May, while lasting through June 2018. You can read more about Amtrak’s maintenance plans here. It remains to be seen how much or little these proposals by Amtrak will affect commuters.