Derailed: Amtrak Halts Service Between NYC & Albany, Crumbling Parking Garage on W. 51st St. Is to Blame

Amtrak suspended all service from Penn Station to Albany on Nov. 12, after an aging parking garage–sitting atop a northbound rail tunnel–was ordered shut by the DOB two days earlier. During reinforcement work, additional and dangerous structural deficiencies were discovered.

| 14 Nov 2023 | 11:44

After the sudden shutdown of a structurally compromised garage on 51st St., Amtrak routes between Penn Station and Albany remain snarled. Hudson View Garage, which is managed by Icon Parking, sits atop a crucial train tunnel.

“In terms of timing, we are working with the builder owner and the NYC Department of Buildings to restore service as soon as possible,” an Amtrak spokesperson told Straus News on Nov. 13. The route remained out of commission as of noon on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

The spokesperson also referred to a service alert sent out to customers (real-time service updates can be found on Amtrak Northeast’s account).

“Due to safety concerns stemming from structure issues of a non-Amtrak, privately owned building above the Empire Line tracks in New York City, Amtrak service is suspended between Croton-Harmon (CRT) and New York City (NYP). Passengers can travel on Metro North trains from Grand Central Terminal between NYP and CRT, where tickets will be cross-honored,” the alert reads.

It marks the second UWS parking garage ordered vacated by the Department of Buildings in recent days. On Nov. 2nd, the DOB shut down 214-216 W. 80th St. after deeming the structure “imminently perilous to life.”

In the latest incident, Hudson View Garage was initially discovered with dangerous holes in its concrete ramps on November 10. An engineer contracted by the property owner noticed the gaps and called 911, sources close to the situation told Straus News. DOB and Amtrak engineers arrived to take a second look at the holes, issuing a vacate order in the process. They also agreed on a repair strategy: Amtrak would reinforce the tunnel, while the DOB oversaw repairs of the garage separately. Initially, it was thought train service could continue as planned.

When Amtrak workers began to shore up the tunnel on November 12, they quickly noticed additional structural problems. DOB agents, called back to the scene, confirmed the presence of cracked and deteriorated steel beams. Fearing structural collapse, Amtrak halted train traffic underneath the garage, effectively shutting down all service between NYC’s Penn Station and Albany.

Shortly thereafter, Mayor Eric Adams issued the following statement: “Due to structural issues at a privately owned parking garage that is located directly above a couple of Amtrak lines, service between Albany and NYC is currently suspended.”

Sources claim that a repair plan was in development by the night of the closure. DOB officials are reportedly waiting on the final draft.

Meanwhile, an employee of Icon Parking told the West Side Spirit that they expected to receive updates on the repair process by Friday.