LIRR 'Summer of Hell' to begin Monday

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NEW YORK -

The "Summer of Hell" for Long Island Rail Road commuters begins Monday.

Amtrak will launch major repairs to its tracks at Penn Station. The work is expected to last until September, likely resulting in many schedule changes and canceled trains.

During those two months, Amtrak says it needs to replace severely worn-out tracks and switches in what's called the A-interlocking. It's an area under Penn Station that few people ever see up close. On Friday, the railroad showed News 12 the area where work will begin.

Amtrak says workers would actually start the renovation of the A-interlocking Friday night because of lower weekend and overnight train volume. But the headaches are starting. Thursday night, a New Jersey Transit train had a minor derailment in the A-interlocking, causing some delays through the morning. Amtrak says this shows that the work needs to start as soon as possible.

Even though the renovation of the A-interlocking will improve service at Penn Station's west side,  the restoration will not address anything on the east side of Penn or the East River Tunnels -- an area that is prone to constant, delay-causing problems.

Long Islanders could possibly be in for another "Summer of Hell" when Amtrak starts working on the east side tracks. There's no official plan yet, but Amtrak says much more work certainly needs to be done at Penn Station.

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