Posts Tagged ‘New York City’

Penn Station Renovation Outlined

April 28, 2021

New York officials have revealed options to redevelop New York Penn Station as part of the proposed $16 billion Empire Station Complex.

Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New Jersey Transit are working to together to establish a plan to unify the separate railroads’ concourses into one space.

This project would new tracks and platforms to accommodate growing ridership, expected to increase by 54 percent to 830,000 daily users by 2038.

The first step in project is to rebuild the station’s existing Penn Station layout. That would involve  creating a central atrium and giving NJ Transit some space now used by Amtrak.

However, officials said they are also considering creating an open, single-level concourse that would eliminate all low ceiling heights.

This work would simplify entry and exit routes from trains and the street level while also creating new large circulation areas bigger than the Great Hall of Grand Central Terminal.

Penn Station Project Part of NY Infrastructure Plan

January 16, 2021

A $306 billion infrastructure plan announced this week by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo includes funding for a reconstruction of New York City’s Penn Station.

The Penn Station project would build on the development of the Moynihan Train Hall that opened across the street from the station on Jan. 1.

Under the governor’s plans, the $16 billion Penn Station project would involve rebuilding the existing station and adding track capacity as part of developing the Empire Station Complex.

“By acquiring property south of Penn Station, we can expand the complex to 40 percent more train capacity and at least eight additional underground tracks to cut down on delays and improve operations for the more than 600,000 [daily] passengers.” Cuomo said in a statement.

The Penn Station project is part of a $51 billion, transit-oriented development in Midtown Manhattan that includes state acquisition of a block south of Penn Station that would allow adding eight tracks to be added to the 21 existing tracks.

The proposal also includes two new Hudson River tunnels, part of the Gateway project, and renovation of the existing tunnels.

Penn Station Expansion Plan Announced

January 6, 2020

New York Penn Station would be expanded under a plan announced on Monday by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In a speech in New York, Cuomo said the expansion will occur on building and land situated on a block adjacent to the station.

The expansion would create a new eight track terminal annex with additional tracks that will result in an increased capacity of 175,000 passengers per day.

If implemented, it would be the first expansion of the Penn Station infrastructure footprint since 1910 when the station was completed.

The expansion will occur south of the current station complex, which includes the Moynihan Train Hall that is expected to open late this year in the Farley Post Office on Eighth Avenue.

The design of the expansion will be a collaborative effort among New York State, Amtrak, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and others.

Urban planning consultant FXCollaborative will develop and execute the plan at the station, which is owned by Amtrak.

Cuomo’s plan calls for the Empire State Development Corporation to use eminent domain to acquire property between 30th and 31st streets. and Seventh and Eighth avenues.

Some of that property is already owned by Amtrak while the archdiocese of New York owns some parcels. The 22 pieces of property are currently being used for residential use, offices and community facilities.

This would allow construction of eight additional tracks to supplement the 21 tracks currently used at the station.

The plan would also create six entrances to the 125,000-square foot new terminal to be known as the Empire Station Complex.

State officials are also eyeing the acquisition of the Theater at Madison Square Garden and transforming it into a new entrance on Eighth Avenue in a bid to bring more light into Penn Station.

The framework that Cuomo outlined has been discussed before, including by Amtrak as part of its Gateway plan to build two new tunnels beneath the Hudson River.

“The entire old Penn has to be redone,” Cuomo said. “You can’t do that until you have the additional tracks and additional capacity.”

Penn Station is used by Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Railroad.


Amtrak Says Penn Station Work on Time, on Budget

July 26, 2019

Amtrak said this week that reconstruction this summer at New York Penn Station is on time and within its budget.

Speaking during a conference call, Scot Naparstek, Amtrak executive vice president and chief operations officer, said in a Thursday conference call that the work should be complete by Sept. 2. The current work began on June 28.

A handful of Amtrak trains have been affected due to track closures and the Long Island Rail Road has cancelled 14 of 274 morning and evening rush hour trains.

New Jersey Transit has diverted 10 rush-hour trains from Penn Station to its Hoboken Terminal during the summer work schedule.

The $30 million project involves rails, ties, switches, track panels, and ballast.

Work is also being done on JO Interlocking, which governs Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road, and NJ Transit movements heading east and west from the East River Tunnels.

It is the third summer that work has been done at Penn Station.

Taking a Look at Plans for Moynihan Train Hall

April 23, 2019

Amtrak has given a sneak peak at the Moynihan Train Hall in New York, telling Trains magazine that the facility will have natural lighting, additional space, and an upgraded Metropolitan Lounge.

Moynihan Train Hall, which will be a part of Penn Station, is expected to open in early 2021.

It is being built in the former Farley Post Office Building, which is located across Eighth Avenue from Penn Station.

The project is being completed in phases with the West End Concourse having opened in September 2018.

Next up is a 255,000-square-foot area that will feature a larger boarding concourse with natural light from 92-foot-high skylights. It will also house ticket counters and baggage facilities.

The 10,000-square-foot Metropolitan Lounge will have windows, dedicated customer service agents, priority boarding, a family area, and seating and tables with access to electrical outlets and USB ports.

The lounge can accommodate 300, who will be able to look down on the Train Hall plaza from a 20-foot-high balcony.

New retail space will include stores and dining outlets. The U.S. Postal Service will continue to use a portion of the facility.

The main entrance to the Train Hall will be from West 31st Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues.

Berkshire Flyer Eyes May 2020 Launch

February 10, 2019

An effort to build another generation of visitors to the Berkshire mountains is behind an effort by Massachusetts officials to launch a pilot Amtrak service to western Massachusetts in 2020.

The plan is to have one of Amtrak’s Empire Service trains that now terminates at the Albany-Rensselaer, New York, station continue operating to Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The target market for the service is primarily young couples ages 27 to 47 who live in the New York City metro area who don’t own cars and have a household income of more than $100,000.

“We’d love to see rail as an option for the next generation of Berkshire visitors,” said Jonathan Butler, co-chair of the Berkshire Flyer subcommittee and president and CEO of 1Berkshire, the economic development and tourism agency of Berkshire County.

Butler said another market for the train is older people who might already have a second home in the Berkshires.

The train would operate seasonally on weekends and officials hope to launch it by Memorial Day 2020.

The service would be funded by the State of Massachusetts.

A key to making the project work will be offering transportation for the “last mile” from the train to Berkshires resorts.

That could be anything from car-hailing services to rental cars to taxis and local buses.

The Berkshire Flyer is expected to leave New York City on Fridays at 2:20 p.m., arriving at 6:10 p.m. in Pittsfield.

Return trips would leave Pittsfield on Sundays at 2:45 p.m., arriving at Penn Station at 6:45 p.m.

The pilot program is projected to last 20 weeks and cost the state about $237,000.

Pittsfield is already a stop for Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited between Chicago and Boston.

Another task force is looking at adding passenger rail service to Pittsfield from Boston. It is expected to meet in the spring to consider six possible alternatives for that service.

Amtrak Board OKs Pact to Allow Metro North on NEC

February 5, 2019

An agreement between Amtrak and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to allow the latter to use a portion of the Northeast Corridor has won approval of the Amtrak board of directors.

That will allow Metro-North commuter rail services to Penn Station in New York City and an extension of Amtrak service to Long Island.

In a statement, Amtrak said the agreement allows MTA to design and build enhancements relating to the Penn Station Access project, which will give passengers on Metro-North New Haven Line (Northeast Corridor) direct service to the Bronx and the West Side of Manhattan. Trains will branch off the New Haven Line at New Rochelle, N.Y., traveling via the eastern Bronx, Queens, and Amtrak’s Hell Gate Bridge.

Metro-North trains will use the East River Tunnels and join Long Island Rail Road trains heading into Penn Station.

MTA plans to build four new stations in the eastern Bronx.

It will also fund necessary infrastructure work and share the future costs of operation, maintenance and recapitalization of the line.

Amtrak said it wants to link Long Island with points on its Northeast Corridor and beyond.

Glimpse of NYC’s Planned Metropolitan Lounge

January 29, 2019

Although its opening is two years away, some media outlets have been giving a glimpse at the plans for a new Metropolitan lounge for Amtrak passengers at New York’s Penn Station. The accounts are based on artist drawings that Amtrak has released.

The lounge is to be built in the Moynihan Train Hall, which expected to open in early 2021.

It will feature updated seating with USB ports and numerous electric outlets, a business center and dedicated customer service agents.

Passengers using the lounge will receive priority boarding. A rotating selection of hot and cold food items will be offered along with the availability of alcoholic beverages.

That would be an upgrade over the existing ClubAcela lounge located near Tracks 7 and 8 with its limited selection of snacks, soda and coffee.

The new lounge will be located 20 feet above the central hall, thus providing a prime people-watching spot.

Passengers entitled to use the lounge will include those holding Acela First Class or sleeping car tickets as well as Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Plus and Select Executive members.

The Moynihan hall will offer all passengers free Wi-Fi and a lactation lounge.

Amtrak, MTA Reach Pact on NEC Access

January 28, 2019

Amtrak has relented on two demands it has long made to allow the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to use its tracks in the East Bronx of New York City.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he has brokered an agreement between MTA and Amtrak that will enable Metro-North commuter rail service to build four new stations in the East Bronx.

The deal hinges upon a plan to delay a bridge replacement that was called “beyond a state-of-good-repair” nearly a decade ago.

MTA has agreed to pay for the stations to be built in Hunts Point, Parkchester, Morris Park and Co-op City.

Amtrak has agreed to allow Metro-North trains to use Amtrak-owned tracks on the Northeast Corridor to reach Penn Station in New York.

Officials have described the area in the East Bronx where the stations are to be established as a “transit desert” that has limited subway service.

Amtrak has long demanded that MTA pay track access fees and that the public transportation agency repair the two-track Pelham Bay Bridge, a project estimated to cost $500 million.

The bridge was built in 1907 and requires extensive ongoing maintenance. The top speed over the bridge is 45 mph.

The MTA-Amtrak agreement calls for the bridge replacement to be delayed for 10 to 20 years and for MTA to conduct a joint study with Amtrak to consider the feasibility of Amtrak expanding its service to Long Island.

Cuomo, Trump Meet to Discuss Gateway Project

November 29, 2018

The proposed Gateway Project in New York City may be getting a makeover following a meeting on Wednesday between New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Donald Trump.

Cuomo met with Trump to seek federal funding for construction of new tunnels under the Hudson River between Manhattan and New Jersey that are used by Amtrak and New Jersey Transit.

In a news conference following the meeting, Cuomo said Trump appears amendable to separating the tunnel component of Gateway from other proposed infrastructure improvements to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

The Trump administration has been loath to commit to providing a significant level of federal funding for the $30 billion Gateway project, calling it primarily a local project.

New York and New Jersey officials have in turn pointed to a commitment by the federal government to fund half of Gateway made by the Obama administration.

But the Trump administration has claimed there was no such agreement. It also has rejected an application from New York and New Jersey for a federal loan to pay for Gateway.

Some observers believe that Trump is using funding for Gateway as a bargaining chip to get other things from Congress, including funding for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Cuomo said the stalemate can be broken by “breaking the tunnel away from Gateway,” removing Amtrak’s representative from overseeing the Gateway Project Development Corporation, replacing Amtrak’s rep with a federal representative and immediately putting the project out to bid.

The latter would occur without completing an environmental impact study or having federal funding in place.

Amtrak has estimated that the cost of building the tunnel at $13 billion.

“I’m not signing the check on an Amtrak estimate. And the president’s not signing a check based on an Amtrak estimate. So we need real bids,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo described his meeting with Trump as positive and all good.

The New York Democrat has been a frequent Amtrak critic, particularly in 2017 when the passenger carrier launched a series of emergency repairs at New York’s Penn Station.

The Gateway Project dates to 2011 and calls for a new Portal Bridge and replacement of track in New Jersey.

Cuomo said building new tunnels should have a higher priority that those projects, saying the tunnels sustained severe damage from super storm Sandy in 2012.

“I’m focused on the tunnels, number one from a safety point of view, number two, if we lose one of those tunnels, lose use of the tunnel, it will have a devastating impact,” he said, noting that the failure of the current link would cut off New York and Boston from points south, and impact a fifth of the nation’s gross domestic product. “You’re talking about economic catastrophic circumstances if these tunnels fail.”