On October 5, members of the LIRRCC Safety Committee attended a presentation on fire and life safety projects being undertaken for Penn Station and the East River Tunnels. The main elements of this effort include the installation of a dry fire standpipe system in the tunnels and Penn Station to provide a water source for firefighting, improved ventilation facilities for the tunnel and complete rehabilitation of ventilation plants in Long Island City and on 1st Avenue in Manhattan, a wayside communication system, and improved tunnel lighting. Of these projects, the installation of the standpipe, the Long Island City vent plant, wayside communication, and tunnel lighting has been completed, while a monitoring and automatic fill system for the standpipe and the 1st Avenue vent plant have yet to be completed. The Manhattan vent plant was delayed due to a stray current issue that resulted in an electric shock hazard in the tunnels. The vent plant projects also include significant access improvements that will allow passengers to exit and first responders and their gear to enter the tunnels.
Coincidentally, the LIRR has just marked the centennial of the East River Tunnels and Penn Station. The LIRR is celebrating that achievement with a special photo display in the 34th Street entrance corridor at Penn Station. The exhibit includes photographs of the construction of Penn Station and the East River Tunnels along with depictions of various related documents. The exhibit is meant to remind the public about the vital role the LIRR plays in the region.