ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Amtrak has partially restored service between New York City and Albany as of Thursday, after structural issues shut down a track in Manhattan. An expert said when private property owners don’t maintain structures, Amtrak is limited in what it can do to limit disruptions to its service.
“That’s a big problem for amtrak. it has some degree of ability to regulate and inspect things,” said Executive Director of the Empire State Passengers Association Steve Strauss.
Commuters started to arrive at the Amtrak train station in Rensselaer on Thursday morning, after service to one track was partially restored. This time at the center of the issue is the ability to regulate and inspect structures adjacent to tracks.
A hole was spotted above the Amtrak Empire Service line in Manhattan, it’s one of the many structural issues found with the 747 Tenth Avenue parking garage located directly above that Amtrak line, near 51st Street and 10th Avenue.
Amtrak commuter Nebojsa Maksimovic, experienced delays on Sunday and Thursday but despite the delays he said there was a silver lining, $50 towards his next ticket.
“So that was nice but at the same time it was terrible because I didn’t wanna wait so long,” said Strauss.
Strauss said Amtrak has limited oversight over what happens to adjacent properties near its tracks.
“It’s an interesting question about how safety matters are regulated and how ongoing maintenance is checked-up on, along that route,” said Strauss.
The New York Department of Buildings confirmed its most recent visit to that parking garage was on August 3, following a complaint regarding an elevator. The department said periodic inspections had not taken prior to 2022, inspections would have only taken place following a complaint.
Strauss said the most recent track closure is another example of why regulators need to get ahead of the problem.
“We need to encourage government to be more proactive in checking critical infrastructure and properties adjacent to critical infrastructure to make sure that there aren’t possible disasters out there,” said Strauss.
He said the board will be meeting in Schenectady on Saturday to discuss commuter issues, among them the issues with property owners who don’t maintain their structures.
Maksimovic had one suggestion for Amtrak to appease delayed commuters.
“I was so hungry in the train and I hope they will change something about that, like a bar or something I don’t know at least some snacks,” said Maksimovic.
Full service on the Empire Service Line is expected on Friday.