Date: May 28, 2003
Press Release Number: 73-2003
While dozens of construction workers have worked tirelessly in high-profile jobs to install new track and switches, and lengthen and restore the platforms at PATH’s Exchange Place Station in Jersey City, Edwin Eastman, Michael Galluccio and Genaro Vincelli have labored with little fanfare.
The three men are part of the crews responsible for restoring the station’s massive signal system. Railroad signals are similar to highway traffic lights and direct a train on when it can proceed. Without a functioning signal system, trains cannot run in and out of the station.
The PATH employees have worked 12-hour days, sometimes for seven days a week, to meticulously connect 150 signal cables, which contain more than 1,000 individual wires. The wires must each be connected to terminal boards in a signal relay room at Exchange Place. Another 300 cables were connected in the refurbished and new tunnels to link the individual signals leading in and out of the station to PATH’s train control center in Jersey City.
The signal work must be done for the Exchange Place PATH Station to open on June 29. The reopened station will provide a vital first step toward the restoration of service to Lower Manhattan in November. Signal testing has begun in preparation for the station reopening.
PATH Director/General Manager Michael P. DePallo said, “The work that these men and their colleagues have done is truly remarkable. While installing signals is painstaking work, it must be done right to ensure the safety of the PATH system. We applaud these employees for their dedication and their extraordinary work efforts.”
The crews said the signal work for the project is exciting, although at times it’s been difficult working in the tunnels with other construction work going on at the same time. The three men, who are among some of the most senior employees in PATH’s signal department, volunteered for the work, viewing it as a challenge to help restore the region’s transportation network after the September 11 attacks. All of them believe that the personal sacrifice of the 12-hour, seven-day work week was something that they needed to do to get PATH up and running for the good of the region.
“This has to be one of the most unprecedented jobs we have ever done,” said Mr. Galluccio, a Monroe Township, N.J., resident and PATH employee for 22 years. “We have all worked with no breaks and short lunches, but we clearly understand the need to get this job done.”
Mr. Eastman, a 27-year PATH employee who lives in Old Bridge, N.J., has been given the task of wiring the signals in the tunnels that lead in and out of the station. When the signal crews initially began the job in mid-February and saw stacks of cables on the floor, Mr. Eastman said the task appeared overwhelming. But working with a set of detailed plans, each of the two-person teams embarked on this daunting endeavor and were able to install between 10 and 15 cables a day.
Mr. Vincelli, a 30-year PATH veteran who lives in Breezy Point, N.Y., said the new signal system is computer based and more reliable than the old one, which dates to the turn of the 20th Century.
All three men have close ties to PATH, which provides them with an added incentive to make the Exchange Place opening a success. Mr. Eastman’s father was a PATH engineer, while Mr. Vincelli and Mr. Galluccio also have family members who worked for PATH.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.