Posts Tagged ‘New York Penn Station’

Track Work to Affect Empire Service Train

May 19, 2019

Track work will result in a temporary schedule change for Empire Service Train No. 288 on May 19 and June 2.

On those dates No. 288 will operate from Niagara Falls to Croton-Harmon, New York, with passengers reaching New York City on a special Metro North train.

That train will terminate at Grand Central Terminal whereas No. 288 terminates at New York Penn Station.

Amtrak said in a service advisory that Metro-North will honor Amtrak tickets on the special train. No Amtrak staff will be aboard that train or at Grand Central.

Passengers will be responsible for making their own arrangements to transfer from Grand Central to Penn Station if they so desire.

More Penn Station Rehab Work Planned

May 3, 2019

Amtrak said this week that it plans to undertake more rehabilitation of New York Penn Station, which will result in two tracks being removed from service.

Work will also be done at JO interlocking, which is located on the route to and from the East River Tunnels.

The JO work will occur between June 28 and Sept. 2.

Amtrak said that during the construction some service will be modified.

Canceled will be Northeast Regional No. 110 from Washington to New York, No. 127 from New York to Washington.

Keystone Service Nos. 640 and 643 will terminate and originate in Newark rather than New York. No. 653 will depart New York earlier.

On weekdays, the westbound Cardinal will depart earlier although an Amtrak news release did not say how much earlier. The current New York departure time for the Cardinal is 6:45 a.m.

Other changes include the combining of the Maple Leaf (No. 63) and Adirondack (No. 69). It will operate on the Maple Leaf’s schedule with a 7:15 a.m. departure from New York.

The trains will separate at Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

The work at Penn Station will also affect some trains of New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Railroad.

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.

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.

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.”

Cardinal Resumes Operating to New York City

November 15, 2018

Withing giving notice, Amtrak has resumed operating the Cardinal to New York City.

The Chicago-New York tri-weekly train had been terminating and originating in Washington since March 29 westbound and April 1 eastbound due to track work and other construction at New York’s Penn Station.

Amtrak said the curtailment of the Cardinal to Chicago-Washington was a temporary move, even though it was the last train affected by the construction to resume serving Penn Station.

The Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited also took a hiatus from Penn Station between late May and early September.

Service stopped operating eastbound to New York on March 29, and westbound from New York on April 1.

Amtrak said Nos. 50 and 51 stopped operating to New York in order to help ease congestion during the Penn Station project.

Amtrak Workers Contend Jobs in Jeopardy.

October 11, 2018

The union representing Amtrak food service workers believes that as many as 1,700 of its members may lose their jobs if Amtrak outsources its food service to a contractor.

Some of the union workers protested that prospect during a rally outside New York’s Penn Station this week.

Transport Workers Union International President John Samuelsen said Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson is “engaged in a slash-and-burn management plan.”

The approximately 100 Amtrak workers also decried Amtrak’s replacement of full-service dining aboard the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited with boxed meals, most of them served cold.

Amtrak acknowledged in a statement that it has cut 14 chef positions, but that all those affected who wanted another position with Amtrak were able to get one.

The Amtrak statement also contended that the change in meal service aboard the Lake Shore and Capitol has been well received by passengers.

New York LSL Section to Resume Service

August 31, 2018

The Lake Shore Limited will return to Penn Station in New York City on Tuesday, but the Cardinal will not be back in the Big Apple until November.

The New York section of the Lake Shore was suspended in late May due to construction on the train’s route to Penn Station.

Passengers were forced to transfer at Albany-Renssalaer, New York, and take a connecting train to New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

The Boston section continued to operate between Chicago and Boston as usual.

Also shifting back to Penn Station on Tuesday will be Amtrak’s Empire Corridor trains, including the Maple Leaf, Ethan Allen Express and Adirondack.

The construction work in New York included replacement of components of the Spuyten Duyvil swing bridge between The Bronx and Manhattan; track replacement in the Empire Tunnel; rail, crosstie and grade crossing work between the tunnel and the bridge, and work on Track 19 at Penn Station.

As for the Cardinal, an Amtrak spokesperson said it will continue to originate and terminate in Washington due to other work being done in the Northeast Corridor.

Penn Station Work Moving on Schedule

July 24, 2018

Amtrak expects the renovation of New York Penn Station and its Empire Connection to be completed on time and without major surprises.

In a briefing last week, Amtrak Chief Operating Officer Scot Naparstek said rebuilding of the Empire Connection from the west end of Penn Station to the connection west of the Spuyten Duyvil Metro-North Station is on schedule.

The project involves the Empire Tunnel, the rails between the tunnel and the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge.

The Spuyten Duyvil Bridge swing span is expected to be back in place by the week of July 30, with tweaking of the electrical and mechanical systems to take place during August.

Workers are replacing 2,500 track fasteners inside the tunnel as well as lowering the track to accommodate clearances of the new Hudson River Tunnels.

A new switch is being installed at 72nd Street and workers are replacing 15 miles of welded rail and 15,000 ties.

Surfacing of 19 miles of ballasted track will be done before the Labor Day Weekend on the largely double-track line.

The Empire Connection is used by the Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited as well as other Empire Service trains.

At Penn Station a new upper-level handbag kiosk is being installed along with a Starbucks and a wine store kiosk.

Platform 6, which serves Tracks 11 and 12, will be taken out of service for Moynihan Station work, and will be restored next year. Other platforms are getting better lighting and new signs.

NYC Bridge Removed for Repair

June 23, 2018

The Spuyten Duyvil Bridge in New York City has been removed and towed away so that it can be repaired.

The bridge, which spans the Harlem River, lies on the route of the Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf and Empire Corridor service.

Removal of the bridge prompted Amtrak to suspend the New York section of the Lake Shore Limited for the summer.

Once mechanical and electrical work on the bridge is completed, it will be put back into place and reopened by Sept. 3.

The bridge rehabilitation is part of a rebuilding of the Empire Connection, which also included lowering 645 feet of the Empire Tunnel on the route.

During a meeting with reporters, Amtrak’s chief operating office, Scot Naparstek, and its chief commercial officer, Stephen Gardner, gave an update on the work, which is part of a larger project to rebuild infrastructure at New York’s Penn Station.

The two Amtrak executives said the passenger carrier is seeking replacement equipment for the 500-car Amfleet I fleet, most of which is 40 years old.

They did not give a timetable for that replacement, but indicated that it is not imminent.

Amtrak has been refurbishing the interiors of its Amfleet I cars to give them a more modern look. Those cars are used largely on eastern corridor trains with a few assigned to Midwest corridor trains.