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Logan CrawfordJul 25, 2017, 7:52 pm

Amtrak offers glimpse inside the ‘busiest control room’ in the country

The Penn Station command center controls the flow of trains for the LIRR


With repair work to tracks at Penn Station underway, Amtrak officials gave the media a first-hand look at their central control where dispatchers route trains every day for the Long Island Railroad.

Amtrak officials say the 67-foot wide, 7-foot tall board is the busiest control center in the country.

Currently, three tracks are missing from the grid as Amtrak works to repair them this summer to make infrastructure improvements.

"And the track will be better. It will be all new,” said Steve Young, the deputy general manager of the New York division of Amtrak. Young says half of the summer repair work is already done.

“We'll have six routes again and we'll be able to go back to the 1,300 trains a day we run. Right now we're running 1,140 give or take," he said.

80 percent of track improvements are worked on at nights and on weekends to try to limit the impact to commuters.

He says there's still more work to be done at Penn Station after the repairs to A interlocking are complete but that work shouldn't be as intrusive to train customers.

"This had to get done in order to make the railroad more reliable so we can stop the derailments. So that's why we took this big piece. Going forward I don't expect that these kind of service changes, there might be some adjustments, but I don't expect it to be the 100 and something odd trains that we took out," Young said.

Young says they are a couple of days ahead of schedule to finish the first portion of the work to one set of tracks.

On Tuesday night, rail crews will transition to the work on the second set of tracks and are on schedule to be finished by Labor Day.

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