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Cuomo, Christie want state transit agencies involved with investigating Penn Station derailments

Gov. Cuomo (l) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fired off a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak to demand that their transit agencies have a role in investigating the Penn Station derailments.

Gov. Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday demanded that state transit officials have a role in the investigation of two derailments at Penn Station.

The governors said in the letter to Federal Railroad Administration Executive Director Patrick Warren and Amtrak President Wick Moorman that MTA Long Island Rail Road and NJ Transit was shut out of the post-derailment assessment of Penn Station.

Amtrak owns and operates Penn Station, though LIRR and N.J. Transit handle the bulk of the travelers who pass through the busy hub — 430,000 daily trips at the transit hub between the two transit agencies.

Workers make repairs at tracks at Penn Station after a recent derailment.

“New York and New Jersey are requesting independent verification of track safety at Penn Station,” the governors wrote. “This comprehensive review should take into account the causes of recent failures at Penn Station and any needed changes to the processes by which routine maintenance and emergency repairs are performed.”

Last month, an Amtrak train heading out of Penn Station during the morning rush hour derailed and clipped a NJ Transit train pulling up to a platform. Less than two weeks later on April 3, three cars of a NJ Transit train derailed.

Both incidents left commuters reeling from massive service cut backs lasting days after the derailments.

Moorman last week personally apologized for the commuting chaos at Penn Station.

He said the first derailment was caused by two mismatched pieces of rail on a curve inside the station. The recent derailment was caused by “defective wood ties” on the tracks.

Brass at the MTA and NJ Transit also fumed at Amtrak’s management of Penn Station for the ripple effect the track snafus created.

With track space limited after the derailments, LIRR had to cancel dozens of trips out of Penn Station, while NJ Transit ran on limited schedule.

Reps for FRA and Amtrak did not have immediate comment on the letter.