APNewsBreak: Bad track caused Penn Station derailment

FILE - In a Friday, July 7, 2017 file photo, commuters arrive in the New Jersey Transit portion of New York's Pennsylvania Station. a day after an Amtrak train was involved in a slow-speed derailment at Penn Station. A report shows that a faulty track condition caused the July 6 derailment at New York’s Penn Station in an area where Amtrak is performing repairs that are causing service cutbacks for hundreds of thousands of commuters this summer. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK — A report shows that a faulty track caused a recent train derailment at New York's Penn Station in an area where Amtrak is performing repairs that are causing service cutbacks for hundreds of thousands of commuters this summer.

The document obtained by The Associated Press from Amtrak's investigation describes what happened to a New Jersey Transit train on July 6.

The first car behind the locomotive on the inbound train derailed shortly before 9 p.m., according to the report, when the train switched from one track to another. The report blamed defective parts anchoring the rail as well as the train's lateral motion when it switched to the left and, shortly after, back to the right.

About 180 passengers and crew members were on board. No injuries were reported.

The July 6 derailment occurred in an area where trains emerge from a tunnel under the Hudson River and pass through a crisscrossing network of tracks before they reach the station platforms. That's the same area where an NJ Transit train derailed April 3, causing five days of disruptions to rail service up and down the corridor between Washington, D.C., and Boston.

That derailment was blamed on aging wood crossties beneath the tracks that allowed the rails to separate.

The April 3 derailment, combined with another derailment in March and other track and signal issues, prompted Amtrak to condense repair work scheduled to be performed on nights and weekends over the next few years into two months this summer. Weekday work began July 10.

The work includes replacing switches in the area where the April and July derailments occurred.

In a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday, Amtrak said the July derailment "reinforces our decision to accelerate the infrastructure renewal work in this part of New York Penn Station this summer." It said the repairs will "strengthen operations and restore reliability at North America's busiest rail station."

Penn Station, owned and operated by Amtrak, accommodates about 1,300 train movements daily. More than a half million people pass through daily on New York City subways and trains run by Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road.

Rail riders are in their second week of schedule reductions caused by the work. While the first week went smoothly and partly allayed fears of a commuting "summer of hell" predicted by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the second week has been marred by several train cancellations by NJ Transit because of understaffing.

According to NJ Transit, that was caused when some engineers exercised their contract rights and took two days to report for work after schedule changes were made. Engineers union officials have blamed a personnel shortage.

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