Eight weeks of infrastructure repairs at Penn Station officially began Monday, affecting commuters using the Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit. Amtrak will close some of the station’s 21 tracks for renovations, which will force the MTA to cancel or divert 15-weekday trains between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Overall, there will be a 20 percent reduction in the number of trains to Manhattan from NJ and Long Island. To minimize the impact on riders, the MTA has offered discounted fares and transit alternatives like ferry and bus service (h/t NY Times).
Ahead of repair work set to begin at Penn Station next week, Amtrak said it will reroute some trains each weekday to Grand Central Terminal. For the first time since 1991, passengers will use the iconic Beaux-Arts terminal to reach destinations along the Hudson River Valley, like Rhinecliff, Hudson and Albany. As the New York Times reported, Amtrak will reroute six of their Empire Service trains to Grand Central instead of Penn Station from July 10 to Sept. 1.
Image via Alan Bloom/Flickr
Seeking innovative solutions to fix the mess that is the New York City transit system, Governor Cuomo on Tuesday launched a competition called the “MTA Genius Transit Challenge.” Just one of the governor’s recently proposed ideas to fix the subway, the international competition challenges participants to develop ideas for better signaling, new car designs, and WiFi throughout the system, including in tunnels. The winner of each category will receive $1 million and a possible contract deal with the state. In addition to the challenge, Cuomo announced he has created a Penn Station Task Force to devise alternative transportation solutions during Amtrak’s track work at the station this summer.
As his administration finalizes its budget plan, Governor Cuomo wrote a letter Sunday to President Trump asking for emergency federal funds to lessen what he called Penn Station’s “summer of agony,” reports the Daily News. With six weeks of infrastructure repairs coming to the transit hub this July and August, the governor said the station’s daily flow of 600,000 passengers will face a 20 percent reduction in service during peak hours while Amtrak shuts down some of its tracks, which will then have a ripple effect on the subway system and regional transit.
Grand Central Terminal Lobby via Wikipedia
With major infrastructure repairs taking place at Penn Station this summer, state officials have suggested rerouting some Amtrak trains to Grand Central Terminal to ease train congestion. While no plans have been finalized, and it’s still unclear how long the switch would take to begin, crews are already training for the new path down Park Avenue into Grand Central, as Politico NY reports. Swapping stations, however, could cause temporary problems at the 42nd Street transit hub, which currently serves 750,000 passengers per day on four commuter lines via Metro-North.
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Back in January, Amtrak unveiled its $24B Gateway Program, a plan that would overhaul the Hudson River rail tunnels by building a brand new tunnel and repairing another that is currently in disrepair. Work under the plan would also encompass expanding Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan and replacing rail bridges in New Jersey. While details on the course of construction were previously thin, according to draft proposals obtained by Reuters, we now know that work on the new tunnel will begin in 2019, and the West Side Highway could be subject to three years of traffic jams as a result.
Approval process for new $24 billion Hudson River tunnels fast-tracked; construction could start in 2019, Tue, October 18, 2016
The $24 billion plan to construct two rail tunnels beneath the Hudson River has been designated a priority, which will get it fast-tracked through environmental and permitting stages and trim development time by a year or more, the Wall Street Journal reports; with construction beginning in 2019, the tunnels could be operational as early as 2024, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at a news conference at Penn Station on Friday. Both Amtrak and NJ Transit will use the new tunnels, which are among the first steps in a broader plan by Amtrak find ways to handle double the current number of passenger trains running beneath the Hudson River.
As 6sqft previously reported, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans early this week for a $1.6 billion overhaul of Penn Station, and further details revealed that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority would be responsible for $150 of the project’s costs. Since those plans were released, questions have been raised about where that organization’s share of the tab would be coming from in an already stretched budget.
In a presentation (pdf) Tuesday at the Association for a Better New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that plans for transforming a revamped Penn Station-Moynihan Train Hall complex into a “world-class 21st century transportation hub” were back on track and ready to roll, complete with a slew of new renderings and the selection of a developer-builder team including the Related Companies, Vornado, and Skanska AB, to redevelop the Farley Building.
When Governor Cuomo announced his $3 billion revamp of Penn Station earlier this month, skeptics were quick to point out that all the glassy new structures and reconfiguration of waiting rooms won’t do anything to help the fact that the Hudson River rail tunnels are crumbling. Clearly on the same page, Amtrak announced yesterday a detailed overview of the entire infrastructure project, and it comes in at a whopping $23.9 billion.
According to the Times, “the largest share of about $7.7 billion [will go towards] building the new Hudson tunnel and repairing the existing tunnel. The project includes a host of other elements, including expanding Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan at an estimated cost of $5.9 billion, and replacing rail bridges in New Jersey.”