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‘Summer of Hell’ survival guide: How to get around during Penn Station repairs

Commuters who travel through New York Penn Station and rely on Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), New Jersey Transit or Amtrak will have to plan ahead this summer, endure delays and follow rerouted paths to get around the New York City area.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called the effects of Amtrak track repairs at Penn Station the “Summer of Hell.” The work will begin on Monday, July 10, and last until Sept. 1.

Here’s how each transit option is expected to be affected and how to navigate the changes:

LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD (LIRR)

About 10,000 riders who take the LIRR during weekday rush hours will be affected by the Amtrak emergency repair work.

Some trains have been canceled entirely while others have added cars. It's important to note that certain lines -- such as the Babylon and Long Beach branches -- divert to both Queens and Brooklyn, so check the LIRR's summer schedule before you travel.

Babylon, Hempstead, Long Beach, Port Jefferson branches

  • Some Penn Station-bound trains will terminate at Atlantic Terminal, where riders can transfer to Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5; B, D, N, Q, R subway lines to continue their commute.

Babylon, Far Rockaway, Hempstead, Montauk, Ronkonkoma branches

  • Some Penn Station-bound trains will terminate at Jamaica. Taking an E train will bring riders into midtown Manhattan, while J and Z trains will take them to lower Manhattan.

Babylon, Long Beach, West Hempstead branches

  • Some Penn-Station bound trains will terminate at Hunterspoint, where a No. 7 train will take riders into Manhattan.

Don't want to take the subway? Buses are an option. LIRR ticket holders can use free park-and-ride buses at these locations.

Ferry service also will be available between Long Island City and 34th Street, Glen Cove and 34th Street, and Glen Cove and Wall Street / Pier 11.

NEW JERSEY TRANSIT

No trains will leave Penn Station on the Morris & Essex Line in the evening, so all New Jersey-bound riders will have to travel through Hoboken.

According to NJ Transit, the following changes will be in place while the Penn Station repairs are underway:

  • Nearly all weekday Midtown Direct trains will be diverted to Hoboken except for the following four early morning trains, which will be operating into New York: Trains 6602, 6604, 6696 and 6306. All weekend Midtown Direct trains will operate directly into Penn Station NY
  • All Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line, Raritan Valley Line and Midtown Direct trains on the Montclair-Boonton Line will operate on regular weekday schedules with minor time changes to/from Penn Station NY
  • Main/Bergen, Pascack Valley and Port Jervis Lines will operate on regular weekday schedules, however, customers may need to adjust their connections to New York at Secaucus

For riders on the North Jersey Coast Line, a transfer will be required during their Hoboken-bound trip:

"Hoboken-bound North Jersey Coast Line trains will terminate at Newark Penn Station. You may take a North Jersey Coast Line train that stops at Secaucus Junction or switch at Newark Penn Station to a Northeast Corridor or North Jersey Coast Line train that stops at Secaucus Junction.

"Once you have arrived at Secaucus, go up to the concourse level and see an agent at the fare gates for free transfer to a Main, Bergen County or Pascack Valley line train to Hoboken. Check departure boards for Hoboken train times and track assignments."

NJ Transit rail tickets will be cross-honored on multiple bus lines. For details, click here.

AMTRAK

No changes will be made to Acela Express Service, but Northeast Regional and Keystone service will be affected. For details, click here.

For the first time in decades, Empire Service trains will be traveling into and out of Grand Central Terminal to alleviate the pressure on Penn Station.

Long-distance service between New York and New Orleans will begin and end in Washington, D.C., daily during the work period and connections will be provided on other Northeast Corridor trains.

PATH

Extra trains will run between Hoboken and 33rd Street during the morning and evening rush hours.

Riders should know the following:

  • NJ Transit rail tickets will be cross-honored at Hoboken, 33rd Street and World Trade Center stations on weekdays, from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m.
  • There will be no cross-honoring of NJ Transit customers at Newark Penn Station.
  • NJ Transit customers should have their rail tickets ready to be cross-honored onto PATH.
  • Additional PATH customer service personnel, maintenance personnel, and Port Authority Police are scheduled to be on hand at Hoboken, 33rd Street and World Trade Center
  • Allow extra time during peak hours, or travel during off-peak hours
  • Parking will be limited around PATH stations.

BY CAR

It's not recommended to drive into Manhattan during the weeks-long changes.

Alternatives to taking a subway or train include hopping a bus from park-and-ride stations (map), or taking a ferry from Glen Cove into Manhattan (map), though parking will be limited should you chose to drive to Long Island City to pick up the ferry.