Pennsylvania Station (New York City)
Pennsylvania Station, also known as New York Penn Station or simply Penn Station, is the main intercity railroad station in New York City and the busiest in the Western Hemisphere, serving more than 600,000 passengers per weekday as of 2019[update].[a] It is located in Midtown Manhattan, beneath Madison Square Garden in the block bounded by Seventh and Eighth avenues, and 31st and 33rd streets, with additional exits to nearby streets. It is close to Herald Square, the Empire State Building, Koreatown, and Macy's Herald Square.
Penn Station has 21 tracks fed by seven tunnels (the two North River Tunnels, the four East River Tunnels, and the single Empire Connection tunnel). It is at the center of the Northeast Corridor, a passenger rail line that connects New York City with Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and intermediate points. Intercity trains are operated by Amtrak, which owns the station, while commuter rail services are operated by the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and NJ Transit (NJT). Connections are available within the complex to the New York City Subway, and buses.
Penn Station is named for the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), its builder and original owner, and shares its name with several stations in other cities. The current facility is the remodeled underground remnant of the original Pennsylvania Station, a more ornate station building designed by McKim, Mead, and White and considered a masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts style. Completed in 1910, it enabled direct rail access to New York City from the south for the first time. Its head house was torn down in 1963, galvanizing the modern historic preservation movement. The rest of the station was rebuilt in the following six years, while retaining most of the rail infrastructure from the original station.
A new direct entrance from 33rd Street to the LIRR concourse opened in December 2020, and Moynihan Train Hall, an expansion of Penn Station into a mixed-use redevelopment of the adjacent Farley Post Office building, opened in January 2021. Future plans for Penn Station include the construction of additional railway platforms in a new southern annex to accommodate two proposed Gateway Program tunnels across the Hudson River, as well as further expansion of the LIRR concourse.
Planning and construction (1901–1910)Edit
Until the early 20th century, the PRR's rail network terminated on the western side of the Hudson River (once known locally as the North River) at Exchange Place in Jersey City, New Jersey. Manhattan-bound passengers boarded ferries to cross the Hudson River for the final stretch of their journey. The rival New York Central Railroad's line ran down Manhattan from the north under Park Avenue and terminated at Grand Central Depot (later Grand Central Station, now Terminal) at 42nd Street. Many proposals for a cross-Hudson connection were advanced in the late 19th century, but financial panics in the 1870s and 1890s scared off potential investors. In any event, none of the proposals advanced during this time were considered feasible.
An early proposal for a bridge was considered but rejected. The alternative was to tunnel under the river, but this was infeasible for steam locomotive use. The development of the electric locomotive at the turn of the 20th century made a tunnel feasible. In 1901, PRR president Alexander Cassatt announced the railroad's plan to enter New York City by tunneling under the Hudson and building a grand station on the West Side of Manhattan south of 34th Street. The station would sit in Manhattan's Tenderloin district, a historical red-light district known for its corruption and prostitution.
Beginning in June 1903, the two single-track North River Tunnels were bored from the west under the Hudson River. A second set of four single-track tunnels, the East River Tunnels, were bored from the east under the East River, linking the new station to Queens, the PRR-owned Long Island Rail Road, and Sunnyside Yard in Queens, where trains would be maintained and assembled. Construction was completed on the Hudson River tunnels on October 9, 1906, and on the East River tunnels on March 18, 1908.
Original structure (1910–1963)Edit
A small portion of Penn Station opened on September 8, 1910, in conjunction with the opening of the East River Tunnels, and LIRR riders gained direct railroad service to Manhattan. On November 27, 1910, Penn Station was fully opened to the public. With the station's full opening, the PRR became the only railroad to enter New York City from the south.
During half a century of operation by the Pennsylvania Railroad (1910–1963), scores of intercity passenger trains arrived and departed daily to Chicago and St. Louis on “Pennsy” rails and beyond on connecting railroads to Miami and the west. Along with Long Island Rail Road trains, Penn Station saw trains of the New Haven and the Lehigh Valley Railroads. A side effect of the tunneling project was to open the city up to the suburbs, and within 10 years of opening, two-thirds of the daily passengers coming through Penn Station were commuters. The station put the Pennsylvania Railroad at comparative advantage to its competitors offering direct service from Manhattan to the west and south. Other railroads began their routes at terminals in Weehawken, Hoboken, Pavonia and Communipaw which required passengers from New York City to take the interstate Hudson Tubes (now PATH) or ferries across the Hudson River before boarding their trains. By 1945, at its peak, more than 100 million passengers a year traveled through Penn Station.
By the late 1950s, intercity rail passenger volumes had declined dramatically with the coming of the Jet Age and the Interstate Highway System. The station's exterior had become somewhat grimy, and due to its vast scale, the station was expensive to maintain. A renovation covered some of the grand columns with plastic and blocked off the spacious central hallway with a new ticket office. The Pennsylvania Railroad optioned the air rights, which called for the demolition of the head house and train shed, to be replaced by an office complex and a new sports complex, while the tracks of the station would remain untouched. Plans for the new Penn Plaza and Madison Square Garden were announced in 1962. In exchange for the air rights to Penn Station, the PRR would receive a smaller underground station at no cost and a 25 percent stake in the new Madison Square Garden Complex. Modern architects rushed to save the ornate building, but to no avail. Demolition of the above-ground head house began in October 1963. A giant steel deck was placed over the tracks and platforms to allow rail service to continue with only minor disruptions; photographs of the day showed passengers waiting for trains even as the head house was demolished around them. This was possible because most of the rail infrastructure (including the waiting room, concourses, and boarding platforms) was below street level.
The demolition of the Penn Station head house was controversial and caused outrage internationally. "One entered the city like a god. One scuttles in now like a rat,” the architectural historian Vincent Scully famously wrote of the original station. The controversy over the demolition of such a well-known landmark, and its deplored replacement, is often cited as a catalyst for the architectural preservation movement in the United States. New laws were passed to restrict such demolition. Within the decade, Grand Central Terminal was protected under the city's new landmarks preservation act, a protection upheld by the courts in 1978 after a challenge by Grand Central's owner, Penn Central.
Underground structure (1968–2020)Edit
The post-1968 Penn Station has been largely underground, sitting below Madison Square Garden, 33rd Street, and Two Penn Plaza. The station had three levels: concourses on the upper two levels and train platforms on the lowest. The two levels of concourses, while original to the 1910 station, were renovated and expanded during the construction of Madison Square Garden and subsequent decades. The tracks and platforms are also largely original, except for some work connecting the station to the West Side Rail Yard and the Amtrak Empire Corridor serving Albany and Buffalo.
The underground Gimbels Passageway extended one block east to the 34th Street–Herald Square subway station and the 33rd Street PATH station. It was closed in 1986 after decades of safety concerns and an epidemic of sexual assaults. It remains sealed off.
In 1991, the opening of the Empire Connection allowed Amtrak to consolidate all of its New York City trains at Penn Station. Previously, trains traveling the Empire Corridor originated and terminated at nearby Grand Central Terminal—a legacy of their history in the New York Central Railroad—and connecting passengers were forced to arrange their own transfer between the two stations. With the connection, Amtrak no longer had to maintain two New York stations or pay the MTA $600,000 per year to use Grand Central's trackage.
In the 1990s, the station was renovated by Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and New Jersey Transit, to improve the appearance of the waiting and concession areas, upgrade audio and visual information systems, and remove grime. In a nod to the grandeur of the bygone Penn Station, a four-sided clock from the original depot was installed at the 34th Street Long Island Rail Road entrance, along with a mural depicting elements of the old Penn Station's architecture.
After the September 11 attacks in 2001, security was increased and passenger flow through the Penn Station complex was curtailed. In 2002, work began on a $100 million improvement to add security features inside Penn Station, such as lighting, security cameras, and barricades. The taxiway under Madison Square Garden, which ran from 31st Street north to 33rd Street halfway between 7th and 8th Avenues, was permanently closed off with concrete Jersey barriers. A covered walkway from the taxiway was constructed to guide arriving passengers to a new taxi-stand on 31st Street. In addition, escalators providing access directly from Penn Station to the lobby of Madison Square Garden were closed and later removed.
Despite modest renovation throughout the following four decades, the underground Penn Station continued to be criticized as a low-ceilinged "catacomb" lacking charm, especially when compared to the much larger and more ornate Grand Central Terminal. The New York Times, in a November 2007 editorial supporting development of an enlarged terminal, said that "Amtrak's beleaguered customers...scurry through underground rooms bereft of light or character," and Times transit reporter Michael M. Grynbaum called Penn Station "the ugly stepchild of the city’s two great rail terminals." In 2019, Penn Station served over 600,000 commuters each day, over three times as many as the structure was built to accommodate in 1963.
Empire Station Complex (present)Edit
The Moynihan Train Hall is an expansion of Penn Station into the James A. Farley Building, the city's former main post office building, alleviating congestion by providing new access to tracks for Amtrak and some LIRR passengers. The $1.6 billion renovation retained the original, landmarked Beaux Arts Farley Building and adds a central atrium with a glass roof. The 255,000-square-foot (23,700 m2) annex project, which had been in consideration since the 1990s, finished on time and within budget after three years of construction. The train hall opened January 1, 2021, and will be named for U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. While the new train hall will cater primarily to Amtrak passengers and LIRR trains will be accessible, officials expect most LIRR riders to use the existing concourse, and NJ Transit will remain in the existing station.
The station is served by 1,300 arrivals and departures per day, twice the number during the 1970s. There are more than 600,000 commuter rail and Amtrak passengers who use the station on an average weekday, or up to 1,000 every ninety seconds.:498, 891 It is the busiest passenger transportation facility in the United States and in North America.:890–891
Amtrak owns the station and uses it for the following services:
- Acela to Boston (northern terminus) and Washington D.C. (southern terminus)
- Adirondack to Montreal
- Cardinal to Chicago
- Carolinian to Charlotte
- Crescent to New Orleans
- Empire Service to Albany and Niagara Falls, NY
- Ethan Allen Express to Rutland
- Keystone Service to Harrisburg
- Lake Shore Limited to Chicago
- Maple Leaf to Toronto
- Pennsylvanian to Pittsburgh
- Northeast Regional to Boston or Springfield (northern termini) and Roanoke, Newport News, or Norfolk (southern termini)
- Palmetto to Savannah
- Silver Meteor to Miami
- Silver Star to Miami
- Vermonter to Washington D.C. (southern terminus) and St. Albans (northern terminus)
All except the Acela Express, Northeast Regional and Vermonter originate and terminate at Penn Station.
Amtrak normally uses tracks 1–12 alongside New Jersey Transit, and shares tracks 13–16 with the LIRR and NJ Transit.
Long Island Rail RoadEdit
The following Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) services originate and terminate at Penn Station:
- Babylon Branch to Babylon with connecting service to Montauk
- Belmont Park Branch seasonal service to Belmont Park
- City Terminal Zone with connecting service at Jamaica station
- Far Rockaway Branch to Far Rockaway, Queens in New York City
- Hempstead Branch to Hempstead
- Long Beach Branch to Long Beach
- Montauk Branch to Babylon and Montauk
- Oyster Bay Branch to Oyster Bay
- Port Jefferson Branch to Huntington and Port Jefferson
- Port Washington Branch to Great Neck and Port Washington
- Ronkonkoma Branch to Ronkonkoma and Long Island MacArthur Airport with connecting service to Greenport
- West Hempstead Branch to Hempstead
All branches connect at Jamaica station except the Port Washington Branch.
Normally, the LIRR uses tracks 17–21 exclusively and shares tracks 13–16 with Amtrak and NJT. The LIRR uses tracks 11–12 on rare occasions.
New Jersey TransitEdit
The following NJ Transit Rail Operations (NJT) branches originate and terminate at Penn Station:
- Montclair-Boonton Line to Montclair, and points west to Hackettstown
- Morris and Essex Lines to Summit and Dover and points west to Hackettstown or the Gladstone branch.
- Northeast Corridor Line to Trenton
- North Jersey Coast Line to Long Branch, with connecting service to Bay Head
- Raritan Valley Line to Raritan and High Bridge
NJT normally shares tracks 1–12 with Amtrak and tracks 13–16 with Amtrak and LIRR. NJT uses track 17 on rare occasions.
New York City SubwayEdit
Connections are available to the following New York City Subway stations:
- From Penn Station:
- From Herald Square, one block east at Sixth Avenue:
Connections are also available to the PATH system at 33rd Street station, under Sixth Avenue on Herald Square. The JSQ-33 and HOB-33 services terminate at 33rd Street on weekdays, and are combined into the JSQ-33 (via HOB) service on late nights, weekends and holidays.
Bus and coachEdit
NYC Airporter provides bus transportation to and from John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, and is authorized by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New York City Department of Transportation.
New York City BusEdit
- M7 (Lenox, Columbus, Amsterdam, Sixth and Seventh Avenues): southbound to Greenwich Village, via Seventh Avenue; or northbound to Harlem via Sixth, Amsterdam, and Lenox Avenues
- M20 (Seventh and Eighth Avenues/Varick and Hudson Streets): northbound to Lincoln Center via Eighth Avenue; or southbound to South Ferry via Seventh Avenue
- M34 Select Bus Service (34th Street Crosstown): westbound to Javits Center; or eastbound to FDR Drive
- M34A Select Bus Service (34th Street Crosstown): westbound to Port Authority Bus Terminal; or eastbound to Waterside Plaza and Kips Bay
- Q32 (Fifth and Madison Avenues): northbound only, to Jackson Heights, Queens
Intercity bus service to and from Penn Station is provided by BoltBus, Vamoose Bus, Tripper Bus, and Go Buses. BoltBus operates from two stops at Penn Station. Penn Station Bus Stop #1 has service to Baltimore; Greenbelt, Maryland; and two stops in Washington, D.C. Penn Station Bus Stop #2 has service to Boston; Cherry Hill, New Jersey; and Philadelphia. Vamoose Bus runs buses from a stop near Penn Station to Bethesda, Maryland; Arlington, Virginia; and Lorton, Virginia. Tripper Bus runs buses from a stop near Penn Station to Bethesda, Maryland and Arlington, Virginia. Go Buses runs buses from a stop near Penn Station to Newton, Massachusetts and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Proposed Metro-North serviceEdit
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has proposed to bring Metro-North Railroad commuter trains to Penn Station as part of its Penn Station Access project. The first phase of the project would bring New Haven Line trains to Penn Station via Amtrak's Hell Gate Bridge and the East River Tunnels. The second phase would bring Hudson Line service to the station via the Empire Connection.
Penn Station does not have a unified design or floor plan but rather is divided into separate Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit concourses with each concourse maintained and styled differently by its respective operator. The Amtrak and NJ Transit concourses are located on the first level below the street level while the Long Island Rail Road concourse is two levels below street level. The NJ Transit concourse near Seventh Avenue is the newest and opened in 2002 out of existing retail and Amtrak office space. A new entrance to this concourse from West 31st Street opened in September 2009. Previously, NJ Transit shared space with the Amtrak concourse. The main LIRR concourse runs below West 33rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Significant renovations were made to this concourse over a three-year period ending in 1994, including the addition of a new entry pavilion on 34th Street. The LIRR's West End Concourse, west of Eighth Avenue, opened in 1986. The station is so complex that in December 2017, Amtrak and Zyter released a mobile app called FindYourWay to help commuters navigate around Penn Station, though Zyter also plans to roll out the app at other large Amtrak stations.
As further evidence of its complexity, the station's three providers use different official addresses for the station.
- Amtrak: 8th Avenue and West 31st Street
- LIRR: 34th Street at 7th and 8th Avenues
- NJ Transit: 390 7th Avenue
|Above ground||Madison Square Garden/Two Penn Plaza|
|UC||Amtrak Concourse||Amtrak tickets, transfer to 34th Street–Penn Station (IND Eighth Avenue Line) station; exit to 33rd Street, connection to Exit and Connecting concourses|
|NJT Concourse||NJT tickets, exit to 31st Street, connect to LIRR and Hilton concourses|
|LC||West End Concourse||Amtrak/LIRR tickets, transfer to 34th Street–Penn Station (IND Eighth Avenue Line) station; exit to 33rd Street, connection to Exit and Connecting concourses|
|Exit Concourse||Exit to 31st Street, connection to Hilton, West End, and Connecting concourses|
|Hilton Corridor||Exit to Seventh Avenue, connection to Exit, LIRR, Central, and NJT concourses|
|Central Concourse||Tickets, connection to Connecting and Hilton concourses|
|Connecting Concourse||Transfer to 34th Street–Penn Station (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line) station, connection to West End, LIRR, Central, and Exit concourses, to One Penn Plaza and 34th Street at north end|
|LIRR Concourse||LIRR tickets, connection to NJT and Hilton concourses|
|Track 21||LIRR toward Long Island (Woodside or Jamaica) →|
|Island platform (Platform K)|
|Track 20||LIRR toward Long Island (Woodside or Jamaica) →|
|Track 19||LIRR toward Long Island (Woodside or Jamaica) →|
|Island platform (Platform J)|
|Track 18||LIRR toward Long Island (Woodside or Jamaica) →|
|Island platform (Platform I); Track 17 only|
|Track 17||LIRR toward Long Island (Woodside or Jamaica) →|
|Track 16||← Amtrak/New Jersey Transit/LIRR →|
|Island platform (Platform H)|
|Track 15||← Amtrak/New Jersey Transit/LIRR →|
|Track 14||← Amtrak/New Jersey Transit/LIRR →|
|Island platform (Platform G)|
|Track 13||← Amtrak/New Jersey Transit/LIRR →|
|Track 12||← Amtrak/New Jersey Transit/LIRR →|
|Island platform (Platform F)|
|Track 11||← Amtrak/New Jersey Transit →|
|Track 10||← Amtrak/New Jersey Transit →|
|Island platform (Platform E)|
|Track 9||← Amtrak/New Jersey Transit →|
|Track 8||← Amtrak/New Jersey Transit →|
|Island platform (Platform D)|
|Track 7||← Amtrak/New Jersey Transit →|
|Track 6||← Amtrak/New Jersey Transit →|
|Island platform (Platform C)|
|Track 5||← Amtrak/New Jersey Transit|
|Track 4||← New Jersey Transit toward New Jersey (Secaucus Junction, Newark Broad Street, or Newark Penn)|
|Island platform (Platform B)|
|Track 3||← New Jersey Transit toward New Jersey (Secaucus Junction, Newark Broad Street, or Newark Penn)|
|Track 2||← New Jersey Transit toward New Jersey (Secaucus Junction, Newark Broad Street, or Newark Penn)|
|Island platform (Platform A)|
|Track 1||← New Jersey Transit toward New Jersey (Secaucus Junction, Newark Broad Street, or Newark Penn)|
Tracks and surrounding infrastructureEdit
Penn Station track map
In normal operations, Amtrak and NJ Transit share tracks 1–12, while the LIRR has the exclusive use of tracks 17–21 on the north side of the station. All three railroads share tracks 13–16. Tracks 1–4 end at bumper blocks at the eastern end of the platform and have no access to the East River Tunnels. From the east, the East River Tunnels' lines 1 and 2 (the more southerly tubes) can only access tracks 5–17 and are used by most Amtrak and NJ Transit trains, while the East River Tunnels' lines 3 and 4 (the more northerly tubes) can only access tracks 14–21 and are mostly used by LIRR. From the west, the North River Tunnels can access tracks 1–19, while the Empire Connection can only access tracks 1–9 and the LIRR's West Side Yard can only access tracks 10–21.
All station tracks are powered by 12 kV overhead wire. Tracks 5–21 also have 750 V DC third rail. Due to the lack of proper ventilation in the tunnels and station, only electric locomotives and dual-mode locomotives are scheduled to enter Penn Station. Diesel-only NJT trains terminate at Hoboken Terminal or Newark Penn Station, and diesel-only LIRR trains terminate at or prior to Long Island City.
Trains on track 18 open their doors only on the north side (platform 10).
2017–2018 service disruptions and track improvementsEdit
Since the early 2010s, Amtrak had planned to fix the deteriorating rails and infrastructure around Penn Station, but due to the prioritization of other projects, applied only minimal fixes. In early 2017, this culminated in numerous power outages, derailments, and delays due to track maintenance delays. There were frequent service disruptions to train schedules caused by the deterioration of its tracks and their supporting infrastructure, as well as in those of the East River and North River tunnels that respectively connect the station to Long Island and New Jersey.
A string of early 2017 service disruptions started on March 23, 2017, when an Acela train derailed, causing delays for the day. On April 3, a NJ Transit train derailed at a known problem site, where repairs had been deferred. This caused four days of reduced service along the Northeast Corridor for both Amtrak and NJ Transit, because the incident damaged the switch that connects Tracks 1–8 to the North River tunnels. This closure caused a cascading failure, delaying Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road trains on the unaffected tracks.
On April 14, a New Jersey Transit train became stuck in the North River tunnels, causing the station to grow crowded with waiting passengers. After an Amtrak police officer used a Taser on a man who was acting disruptively, rumors of gunshots sparked a stampede that injured 16 people. Following the stampede, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer called on Amtrak to centralize law enforcement response.
As a result of these incidents, the Long Island Rail Road had proposed taking over Penn Station from Amtrak to improve maintenance, and New Jersey has suggested withholding state payments to Amtrak. Amtrak has discussed accelerating major maintenance work, even at the cost of further disruptions, to more quickly stabilize infrastructure and decrease more future incidents that could potentially cause even greater disruption. On April 28, Amtrak announced that it would perform some track maintenance during the summer over a period of one and a half months. Five tracks were closed for repairs as part of the reconstruction work, severely reducing track capacity in a situation media outlets deemed "the summer of hell". Many affected NJ Transit passengers were diverted to take the PATH instead. Some Amtrak trains from the Empire Corridor were routed to Grand Central instead of Penn Station. Regular service resumed on September 5, 2017.
Amtrak made further improvements to Penn Station's trackage in summer 2018. As a result, some Empire Corridor trains were rerouted again to Grand Central. The Lake Shore Limited and Cardinal to Chicago were truncated or rerouted because of this work.
ClubAcela is a private lounge located on the Amtrak concourse (8th Avenue side of the station). Prior to December 2000 it was known as the Metropolitan Lounge. Guests are provided with comfortable seating, complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, newspapers, television sets and a conference room. Access to ClubAcela is restricted to the following passenger types:
- Amtrak Guest Rewards members with a valid Select Plus or Select Executive member card.
- Amtrak passengers with a same-day ticket (departing) or ticket receipt (arriving) in First class or sleeping car accommodations.
- ClubAcela Single-Day Pass holders. Same day business class passengers may purchase these for $25.
- United Airlines United Club Members with a valid card or passengers with a same-day travel ticket on United Polaris.
- Private rail car owners/lessees. The PNR number must be given to a Club representative upon entry.
Enclosed waiting areaEdit
Amtrak also offers an enclosed waiting area for ticketed passengers with seats, outlets and WiFi.
|33rd St to 34th St subway cross-section|
|11th Av||10th & 9th Avs
|8th Av||Madison Square
|7th Av||Storefronts||6th Av &
|5th & Madison Avs
|mezzanine||A / C / E||concourse||1 / 2 / 3||Former Gimbel's
|mezz||PATH||6 / <6>|
|mezzanine||mezzanine||concourse||mezzanine||N / Q / R / W|
|7 / <7>||Penn Station||B/D/F/<F>/M|
Planning and redevelopmentEdit
Resurgence of train ridership in the 21st century has pushed the current Pennsylvania Station structure to capacity, leading to several proposals to renovate or rebuild the station.
In 2013, the Regional Plan Association and the Municipal Art Society formed the Alliance for a New Penn Station. Citing overcrowding and the limited capacity of the current station under Madison Square Garden, the Alliance began to advocate for limiting the extension of Madison Square Garden's operating permit to ten years. On July 24, 2013, the New York City Council voted 47–1 to give the Garden a ten-year operating permit, at the end of which period the owners will either have to relocate, or go back through the permission process.
In May 2013, four architecture firms—SHoP Architects, SOM, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro—submitted proposals for a new Penn Station. Proposals included moving Madison Square Garden to the Morgan Postal Facility a few blocks southwest and an extension of the High Line to Penn Station, moving Madison Square Garden to the area south of the James Farley Post Office, and moving the arena to a new pier west of Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, all with the intention of redeveloping Penn Station as a mixed-use development. Madison Square Garden rejected the allegations that it would be relocated, and called the plans "pie-in-the-sky."
In January 2016, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced that requests for proposals would be solicited for the redevelopment of the station, which would be a public-private partnership called the Empire Station Complex. Investors would be granted commercial rights to the station in exchange for paying building costs.
Empire Station ComplexEdit
In January 2020, Governor Cuomo unveiled a proposed southern annex to Penn Station, part of his vision for the Empire Station Complex. The annex would include eight additional tracks with four platforms and would involve demolishing the entire block bounded by 30th and 31st Streets between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, directly south of the existing station. The cost and timeline of the annex was not announced. The project is a breakout from the larger Gateway Program, allowing construction of the annex to proceed independently from the project to build two additional North River tunnels to New Jersey.
In another component of the evolving Empire Station plan, the LIRR concourse would be nearly doubled in width, from 30 to 57 feet (9.1 to 17.4 m), and the ceilings would be raised to a minimum height of 18 feet (5.5 m). The first piece of this expansion, a new direct entrance from 33rd Street to the LIRR concourse, opened on December 31, 2020. 33rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues is planned to be permanently closed to vehicular traffic and converted into a pedestrian plaza.
Cuomo's Empire Station Complex also envisions demolishing the Hulu Theater on the west side of Madison Square Garden and replacing it with a new open Eighth Avenue-facing entrance to the current subterranean Penn Station. No cost of this component has been released, and no construction is planned as of 2020[update].
The Gateway Program is a proposed high-speed rail corridor to alleviate the bottleneck along the Northeast Corridor at the North River Tunnels, which runs under the Hudson River. If constructed, the project would add 25 cross-Hudson train slots during rush hours and connect to a 7-track, 4-platform terminal annex to Penn Station to its south. Some previously planned improvements already underway have also been incorporated into the Gateway plan.
The Gateway Program was unveiled in 2011, one year after the cancellation of the somewhat-similar Access to the Region's Core (ARC) project, and was originally projected to cost $14.5 billion and take 14 years to build. Construction of a "tunnel box" that would preserve the right-of-way on Manhattan's West Side began in September 2013, using $185 million in recovery and resilience funding awarded after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. In 2015, Amtrak said that damage done to the existing trans-Hudson tunnels by Hurricane Sandy had made their replacement urgent. That year, Amtrak reported that environmental and design work was underway, estimated the project's total cost at $20 billion, and said construction would last four to five years. A draft environmental impact statement was released in July 2017.
Funding for the Gateway Program had been unclear for several years due to a lack of funding commitments from the federal government, and the environmental impact study submitted to the Trump administration in 2018 has not been approved. Approval and funding of the Gateway tunnels is anticipated to be a priority of the incoming Biden administration, which will take office in 2021.
New Jersey Transit ALP-45DP locomotive at the platform
- The breakdown of Penn Station's ridership:
- Commuter and intercity rail comprise about 355,000 daily weekday passengers.
- LIRR has an average of 233,340 daily weekday passengers.
- NJ Transit has an average of 93,305 daily weekday passengers.
- Amtrak has an average of 28,487 daily passengers, when annual totals are averaged.
- The two subway stations have a combined average of approximately 200,000 daily weekday passengers. However, this only includes entries and not exits.
- The remainder of the ridership, around 75,000 passengers, may use other transportation such as buses, taxis, or ride-sharing, and may include passengers exiting from the subway.
- Commuter and intercity rail comprise about 355,000 daily weekday passengers.
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