Pennsylvania Station (New York City)
Pennsylvania Station, also known as New York Penn Station or Penn Station, is the main intercity railroad station in New York City. Serving more than 600,000 commuter rail and Amtrak passengers a day, it is the busiest passenger transportation hub in the Western Hemisphere. Penn Station is in the midtown area of Manhattan, close to Herald Square, the Empire State Building, Koreatown, and the Macy's department store. Entirely underground, it sits beneath Madison Square Garden, between Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue and between 31st and 34th Streets.
Penn Station has 21 tracks fed by seven tunnels (the two Hudson 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 New Jersey Transit. Connections are available within the complex to the New York City Subway, and buses. The old "Hilton Corridor" formerly provided indoor connection with PATH trains.
The original Pennsylvania Station was built from 1901 to 1910 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, and featured an ornate marble and granite station house and train shed inspired by the Gare d'Orsay in Paris (the world's first electrified rail terminal). After a decline in passenger usage during the 1950s, the original station was demolished and reconstructed from 1963 to 1969, resulting in the current station. Future plans for Penn Station include the Gateway Project and the possibility of shifting some trains to the adjacent Farley Post Office, a building designed by the same architects as the original 1910 station.
- 1 History
- 2 Services
- 2.1 Intercity rail
- 2.2 Commuter rail
- 2.3 Rapid transit
- 2.4 Bus and coach
- 2.5 Airline ticketing
- 2.6 Proposed Metro-North service
- 3 Station layout
- 4 Planning and redevelopment
- 5 Gallery
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Pennsylvania Station is named for the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), its builder and original tenant, and shares its name with several stations in other cities. The current facility is the substantially remodeled underground remnant of a significantly more ornate station building designed by McKim, Mead, and White and completed in 1910. The original Pennsylvania Station was considered a masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts style, but was demolished in 1963. The station was moved fully underground, beneath the newly constructed Pennsylvania Plaza complex and Madison Square Garden arena completed in 1968.
Planning and construction (1901–1910)
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 Terminal at 42nd Street.
The Pennsylvania Railroad considered building a rail bridge across the Hudson, but the state of New York required such a bridge to be a joint project with other New Jersey railroads, who were not interested. The alternative was to tunnel under the river, but steam locomotives could not use such a tunnel due to the accumulation of pollution in a closed space; in any case, the New York State Legislature had prohibited steam locomotives in Manhattan after July 1, 1908. The development of the electric locomotive at the turn of the 20th century made a tunnel feasible. On December 12, 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 were bored from the east under the East River, linking the new station to Queens and the Long Island Rail Road, which came under PRR control (see East River Tunnels), and Sunnyside Yard in Queens, where trains would be maintained and assembled. Electrification was initially 600 volts DC–third rail, and later changed to 11,000 volts AC–overhead catenary when electrification of PRR's mainline was extended to Washington, D.C., in the early 1930s.
The tunnel technology was so innovative that in 1907 the PRR shipped an actual 23-foot (7.0 m) diameter section of the new East River Tunnels to the Jamestown Exposition in Norfolk, Virginia, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the nearby founding of the colony at Jamestown. The same tube, with an inscription indicating that it had been displayed at the Exposition, was later installed under water and remains in use today. Construction was completed on the Hudson River tunnels on October 9, 1906, and on the East River tunnels on March 18, 1908. Meanwhile, ground was broken for Pennsylvania Station on May 1, 1904. By the time of its completion and the inauguration of regular through train service on November 27, 1910, the total project cost to the Pennsylvania Railroad for the station and associated tunnels was $114 million (about $2.7 billion in 2011 dollars), according to an Interstate Commerce Commission report.:156–7
Original structure (1910–1963)
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. By contrast the Baltimore & Ohio, Central of New Jersey, Erie, West Shore Railroad, New York, Susquehanna and Western and the Lackawanna railroads began their routes at terminals in Weehawken, Hoboken, Pavonia and Communipaw which required passengers from New York City to use ferries or the interstate Hudson Tubes to traverse the Hudson River before boarding their trains.
During World War I and the early 1920s, rival Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) passenger trains to Washington, Chicago, and St. Louis also used Penn Station, initially by order of the United States Railroad Administration, until the Pennsylvania Railroad terminated the B&O's access in 1926. By 1945, at its peak, more than 100 million passengers a year traveled through Penn Station. The station saw its heaviest use during World War II. By the late 1950s, intercity, rail passenger volumes had declined dramatically with the coming of the Jet Age and the Interstate Highway System. After a renovation covered some of the grand columns with plastic and blocked off the spacious central hallway with a new ticket office, author Lewis Mumford wrote critically in The New Yorker in 1958 that “nothing further that could be done to the station could damage it.”
The Pennsylvania Railroad optioned the air rights of Penn Station in the 1950s. The option called for the demolition of the head house and train shed, to be replaced by an office complex and a new sports complex. The tracks of the station, perhaps 50 feet below street level, 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 Pennsylvania Railroad would get a brand-new, air-conditioned, smaller station completely below street level at no cost, and a 25 percent stake in the new Madison Square Garden Complex.
Demolition of the original structure
The cost of maintaining the old structure had become prohibitive, so it was considered easier to demolish the old Pennsylvania Station by 1963 and replace it with Penn Plaza and Madison Square Garden. As a New York Times editorial critical of the demolition noted at the time, a "city gets what it wants, is willing to pay for, and ultimately deserves." Modern architects rushed to save the ornate building, although it was contrary to their own styles. They called the station a treasure and chanted "Don't Amputate – Renovate" at rallies. Demolition of the above-ground station house began in October 1963. As most of the rail infrastructure was below street level, including the waiting room, concourses, and boarding platforms, rail service was maintained throughout demolition with only minor disruptions. Madison Square Garden, along with two office towers were built above the extensively renovated concourses and waiting area (the tracks and boarding platforms were not modified at this time). A 1968 advertisement depicted architect Charles Luckman's model of the final plan for the Madison Square Garden Center complex.
The demolition of the head house was very controversial and caused outrage internationally. The New York Times wrote: "Until the first blow fell, no one was convinced that Penn Station really would be demolished, or that New York would permit this monumental act of vandalism against one of the largest and finest landmarks of its age of Roman elegance." "One entered the city like a God," the architectural historian Vincent Scully famously wrote of the original station. "One scuttles in now like a rat."
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.
Current structure (1968–present)
The current Penn Station is completely underground, and sits below Madison Square Garden, 33rd Street, and Two Penn Plaza. The station has three underground 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 extensively renovated during the construction of Madison Square Garden, and expanded in 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, New York.
In the 1990s, the current Pennsylvania Station was renovated by Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and New Jersey Transit, to improve the appearance of the waiting and concession areas, sharpen the station information systems (audio and visual) and remove much of the grime. Recalling the erstwhile grandeur of the bygone Penn Station, an old four-sided clock from the original depot was installed at the 34th Street Long Island Rail Road entrance. The walkway from that entrance's escalator also has a mural depicting elements of the old Penn Station's architecture.
There is an abandoned underground passageway from Penn Station to the nearby 34th Street–Herald Square subway station, which was known as "Gimbels Passageway." After decades of safety concerns, it was closed in the 1990s.
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, passenger flow through the Penn Station complex was curtailed. The taxiway under Madison Square Garden, which ran from 31st Street north to 33rd Street halfway between 7th and 8th Avenues, was 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, the direct connection escalators from Penn Station to the lobby of Madison Square Garden were closed and later removed.
Despite the improvements, Penn Station continues to be criticized as a low-ceilinged "catacomb" lacking charm, especially when compared to New York's much larger and ornate Grand Central Terminal. The New York Times, in a November 2007 editorial supporting development of an enlarged railroad terminal, said that "Amtrak's beleaguered customers...now scurry through underground rooms bereft of light or character." Times transit reporter Michael M. Grynbaum later called Penn Station "the ugly stepchild of the city’s two great rail terminals."
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 one thousand every ninety seconds. It is the busiest passenger transportation facility in the United States and in North America.
Amtrak owns the station and uses it for the following services:
- Acela Express to Boston, Providence, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington
- Adirondack to Montréal
- Cardinal to Philadelphia, Washington, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Chicago
- Carolinian to Philadelphia, Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, and Charlotte
- Crescent to Philadelphia, Washington, Greensboro, Charlotte, Atlanta, and New Orleans
- Empire Service to Yonkers, Croton-Harmon, Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff, Hudson, Albany, Schenectady, Amsterdam, Utica, Rome, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls
- Ethan Allen Express to Albany and Rutland
- Keystone Service to Philadelphia, Lancaster, and Harrisburg
- Lake Shore Limited to Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, and Chicago
- Maple Leaf to Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and Toronto
- Pennsylvanian to Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh
- Northeast Regional to Boston, Providence, New Haven, Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Newport News, Norfolk, and Lynchburg
- Palmetto, Silver Meteor and Silver Star to Philadelphia, Washington, Columbia, Savannah, Jacksonville, Tampa, and Miami
- Vermonter to New Haven, Hartford, Springfield, and St. Albans
Amtrak normally uses tracks 1–16 alongside New Jersey Transit, as well as the LIRR for 13–16.
Long Island Rail Road
- 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 13–16 with Amtrak and NJT.
New Jersey Transit
- 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 has the exclusive use of tracks 1–4, and shares tracks 5–16 with Amtrak and tracks 13–16 with the LIRR as well.
New York City Subway
- From Penn Station:
- From Herald Square, one block east at Sixth Avenue:
- From Hudson Yards, three blocks west at 11th Avenue:
Bus and coach
- NYC Airporter Airport bus transportation to and from JFK & LGA & Manhattan, authorized by the Port Authority of NY & NJ and the DOT of New York.
New York City Bus
- M4 (Fifth and Madison Avenues/Broadway/Fort Washington Avenue): Northbound only to West 193rd Street and Fort Washington Avenue, Washington Heights (or the Cloisters Museum in Fort Tryon Park).
- M7 (Lenox, Columbus, Amsterdam, Sixth and Seventh Avenues): southbound to West 14th Street and Sixth Avenue, Greenwich Village, via Seventh Avenue; or northbound to West 147th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, Harlem, via Sixth Avenue.
- 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 Jacob K. Javits Convention Center; or eastbound to FDR Drive.
- M34A Select Bus Service (34th Street Crosstown): Westbound to Port Authority Bus Terminal; or eastbound to Waterside Plaza, Kips Bay.
- Q32 (Fifth and Madison Avenues): Northbound only, to 81st Street and Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights, Queens.
Penn Station Bus Stop #1 (West 33rd Street and 7th Avenue)
- Service to Penn Station, Baltimore, Maryland; Greenbelt Metrorail Intermodal Station, Greenbelt, Maryland; Union Station, Washington, D.C.; 10th Street and H Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Penn Station Bus Stop #2 (West 34th Street and 8th Avenue)
- Service to South Station (Gate #9), Boston, Massachusetts
- Service to Cherry Hill Mall, Cherry Hill, New Jersey; 30th Street Station, 30th Street between Market & Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Vamoose Bus is a private company that runs buses from a stop near Penn Station (West 30th Street and 7th Avenue) to Bethesda Station, Bethesda, Maryland; Rosslyn Station, Arlington, Virginia; Lorton VRE Station, Lorton, Virginia.
Tripper Bus is a private company that runs buses from a stop near Penn Station (31st Street between 8th & 9th Avenue) to Bethesda Station, Bethesda, Maryland; and Rosslyn Station, Arlington, Virginia.
Go Buses is a private company that runs buses from a stop near Penn Station (31st Street between 8th & 9th Avenue) to Riverside Station, Newton, Massachusetts, and Alewife Station, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Proposed Metro-North service
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 Line/Northeast Corridor and the East River Tunnels. The second phase would bring Hudson Line service to the station via the Empire Corridor and 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. 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.
In normal operations, tracks 1–12 are used by both Amtrak and NJ Transit trains and the LIRR has the exclusive use of tracks 17–21 on the north side of the station. All three railroads share tracks 13–16.
|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 →|
|Island platform (Platform K)|
|Track 20||→ LIRR →|
|Track 19||→ LIRR →|
|Island platform (Platform J)|
|Track 18||→ LIRR →|
|Island platform (Platform I); Track 17 only|
|Track 17||→ LIRR →|
|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 →|
|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|
|Island platform (Platform B)|
|Track 3||← New Jersey Transit|
|Track 2||← New Jersey Transit|
|Island platform (Platform A)|
|Track 1||← New Jersey Transit|
Tracks and surrounding infrastructure
Normally, Amtrak and NJT share tracks 1–12, the LIRR uses tracks 17–21 exclusively, and all three railroads share tracks 13–16 with Amtrak and NJT. 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 J).
2017 service disruptions and track improvements
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 Railroad trains on the unaffected tracks. Had the Gateway Program been built by then, the disruptions would have been lessened.
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 Railroad 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. Regular service resumed on September 5, 2017.
Although most Amtrak passengers board via the escalators in the main Amtrak boarding area, multiple entrances exist for each platform.
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.
- Complimentary ClubAcela Single-Day Pass holders.
- United Airlines United Club Members with a valid card or passengers with a same-day travel ticket on United Polaris First Class or United Polaris.
- Private rail car owners/lessees. The PNR number must be given to a Club representative upon entry.
Enclosed waiting area
Amtrak also offers an enclosed waiting area for ticketed passengers with seats, outlets and WiFi.
Planning and redevelopment
The Gateway Project 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, convert parts of the James Farley Post Office into a rail station, and add a terminal annex to Penn Station. Some previously planned improvements already underway have also been incorporated into the Gateway plan.
The Gateway Project 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. In 2015, Amtrak reported that environmental and design work was underway, estimated the project's total cost at $20 billion, and said construction would start in 2019 or 2020 and last four to five years.
In 2015, Amtrak said that damage done to the existing trans-Hudson tunnels by 2012's Hurricane Sandy had made their replacement urgent. 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 Hurricane Sandy recovery and resilience funding.
Main site plans
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 May 2013, four architecture firms—SHoP Architects, SOM, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro—submitted proposals for a new Penn Station. SHoP Architects recommended moving Madison Square Garden to the Morgan Postal Facility a few blocks southwest, as well as removing 2 Penn Plaza and redeveloping other towers, and an extension of the High Line to Penn Station. Meanwhile, SOM proposed moving Madison Square Garden to the area just south of the James Farley Post Office, and redeveloping the area above Penn Station as a mixed-use development with commercial, residential, and recreational space. H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture wanted to move the arena to a new pier west of Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, four blocks west of the current station/arena. Then, according to H3's plan, four skyscrapers at each of the four corners of the new Penn Station superblock, with a roof garden on top of the station; the Farley Post Office would become an education center. Finally, Diller Scofidio + Renfro proposed a mixed-use development on the site, with spas, theaters, a cascading park, a pool, and restaurants; Madison Square Garden would be moved two blocks west, next to the post office. DS+F also proposed high-tech features in the station, such as train arrival and departure boards on the floor, and applications that can help waiting passengers use their time until they board their trains. Madison Square Garden rejected the allegations that it would be relocated, and called the plans "pie-in-the-sky".
In 2013, the Regional Plan Association and 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 10 years.
In June 2013, the New York City Council Committee on Land Use voted unanimously to give the Garden a ten-year permit, at the end of which period the owners will either have to relocate, or go back through the permission process. On July 24, 2013, the New York City Council voted to give the Garden a ten-year operating permit by a vote of 47 to 1. "This is the first step in finding a new home for Madison Square Garden and building a new Penn Station that is as great as New York and suitable for the 21st century," said City Council speaker Christine Quinn. "This is an opportunity to reimagine and redevelop Penn Station as a world-class transportation destination."
In October 2014, the Morgan facility was selected as the ideal area to which to move Madison Square Garden, following the 2014 MAS Summit in New York City. More plans for the station were discussed.
In January 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that requests for proposals would be solicited for the redevelopment of the station, which would be a public private partnership. Investors would be granted commercial rights to the station in exchange for paying building costs.
In the early 1990s, U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan began to champion a plan to rebuild the historic Penn Station, in which he had shined shoes during the Great Depression. He proposed building it in the Farley Post Office building, which occupies the block across Eighth Avenue from the current Penn Station and was designed by the same McKim, Mead & White architectural firm as the original station. In 1999 Senator Charles Schumer sponsored and passed legislation formally naming the yet-to-be-constructed facility "Moynihan Station" in his honor.
Initial design proposals were laid out by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 2001. Designs saw several iterations by multiple architectural firms, and Amtrak withdrew from the plan until 2012. Support also grew for "Plan B," an expansion of the project's scope, under which Madison Square Garden would have been moved to the west flank of the Farley Building, allowing Vornado Realty to construct an office complex on the current Garden site. By 2009, the Garden's owner Cablevision had decided not to move Madison Square Garden, but to renovate its current location instead, and Amtrak had returned as a potential tenant.
In 2010, the fully designed elements of the plan were broken off into a $267 million Phase 1. Funded by $83.4 million of federal stimulus money that became available in February, plus other funds, the phase adds two entrances to the existing Penn Station platforms through the Farley Building on Eighth Avenue. Ground was broken on October 18, 2010, and the extended West End Concourse opened in the eastern part of the former post office in June 2017.
Phase 2 will consist of the new train hall in the fully renovated Farley Building. At the time it was first proposed, it was expected to cost up to $1.5 billion. A proposed name for a station that integrates the existing Penn and the post office building is Empire Station. In September 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined the details of a proposal that would speed up the construction of Phase 2 the renovated Moynihan Station. The new hall would be 1 acre (0.40 ha) and be underneath a large glass skylight. The Farley Post Office would be divided so that there would be some space for a shared Amtrak/LIRR train hall and a retail area, as well as space for the post office. Phase 2, which is now expected to cost $1.6 billion, is being built by Skanska AB, and the retail space would be developed by Related Companies and Vornado Realty; all three companies are supposed to sign a contract by 2017. In August 2017, ground was broken on the now-$1.6 billion project.
New Jersey Transit ALP-45DP locomotive at the platform
Interior view, by Berenice Abbott
- "NJ TRANSIT FACTS AT A GLANCE" (PDF). New Jersey Transit. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2016, State of New York" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2016. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
- Average weekday, 2010 LIRR Annual Ridership and Marketing Report
- Leonard, Devin (January 10, 2018). "The Most Awful Transit Center in America Could Get Unimaginably Worse". Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
- "Reopen the Forgotten Hilton Passageway". January 7, 2014.
- Donovan, Frank P. Jr. (1949). Railroads of America. Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pennsylvania Station (New York City, 1969–present).|
- Amtrak – Stations – Pennsylvania Station
- Official Long Island Railroad Penn Station website
- Official NJ Transit Penn Station website
- Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street entrance from Google Maps Street View
- Eighth Avenue and 31st Street entrance from Google Maps Street View
- Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street entrance from Google Maps Street View
- Tracks 5/6 & 7/8 Platforms from Google Maps Street View
- Tracks 17/18/19 Platforms from Google Maps Street View
- West End Concourse from Google Maps Street View