NY transit hub Penn Station to expand capacity by 50%

The long-awaited expansion of Penn Station, a major city and interstate rail-transit hub in New York, into the James A. Farley Post Office Building will be completed by New Year’s Eve and trains will roll into the new Moynihan Train Hall starting January 1, according to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“New Yorkers have known for decades that Penn Station needed to be reimagined, and after years of work, the Moynihan Train Hall will open on time and on budget at the end of 2020,” Xinhua news agency quoted Cuomo was quoted as saying at a ceremony held in the new hall on Wednesday.

Work began in 2017 on the $1.6 billion conversion of the former post office into a transit hub.

Named after Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a US Navy veteran who represented New York State in the Senate for 24 years and championed the project, the 255,000-square-foot train hall is located across 8th Avenue from the current Penn Station, between 31st and 33rd streets, and increases its capacity by 50 per cent.

Announced by Cuomo in his 2016 State of the State Address, the train hall adds eight new tracks while honouring the design of the original Penn Station and housing ticketing and waiting areas for both Amtrak and the Long Island Rail Road.

It provides access to 17 tracks in all.

“This monumental project is a shot of hope as we come out of one of (the) darkest periods in our history and sends a clear message to the world that while we suffered greatly as a result of this once-in-a-century health crisis, the pandemic did not stop us from dreaming big and building for the future,” he said.

“The new Moynihan Train Hall is the embodiment of New York Tough.”

Improving Penn Station, the linchpin of the transportation network in New York and across the northeast, has long been considered one of the state’s and the nation’s most critical infrastructure priorities.

The idea for a train hall in the James A. Farley Post Office Building first emerged decades ago — but was mired in bureaucratic delays and faced repeated federal inaction.