MTA project delays could cause agency to miss PTC deadline

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NEW YORK – The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s East Side access project could fall another year behind schedule and could cause the agency to potentially miss a federal deadline to install positive train control, Newsday reports.

In a report released earlier this week by the agency’s capital program oversight committee, the MTA alleges Amtrak has not allowed the agency enough time to work on track and other infrastructure near its Harold interlocking in Queens.

The East Side access project aims to link the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal by 2022. In connecting the two locations, the agency needs access to Harold interlocking, an Amtrak-operated junction.

According to the agency, Amtrak has not taken the tracks out of service long enough to allow MTA workers to make progress on the connection. Amtrak and other project partners did agree on detailed levels of cooperation, however project leader Bill Goodrich says the agency’s cooperation remains predictable, but less than they need.

As a result, the agency thinks that the work that was supposed to be done this year may not be finished until next year and that could possibly affect a federal deadline to install PTC on time.

The Long Island Rail Road is currently on schedule to meet the PTC deadline by the end of 2018, however in order to be fully compliant, the railroad needs access to the Harold interlocking to install new signal boxes. The PTC work is among the delayed East Side Access work, the article says.

Amtrak did not respond to Newsdays’ request for comment, however, earlier this the month, railroad spokeswoman Kimberly Woods said Amtrak’s own work curfews often competes with the transit agency’s needs.

The East Side Access has been plagued with delays and cost overruns since originally introduced in the 1990s. Current plans estimate a project cost in excess of $6 billion and a completion date of sometime in 2018.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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