us-AmtrakN9695 JMCalisi

Photo: J M Calisi

The Amtrak ticket holders’ waiting area at New York Penn Station.

USA: The modernisation of New York Penn Station has taken another step forward with completion of a refresh of the pre-boarding waiting area for Amtrak passengers and improved access to the NJ Transit concourse.

Although in the medium term Amtrak intends to open a much improved passenger hub in the Farley Post Office building opposite the existing Penn Station complex, the national passenger company had pledged to improve the present facilities as an interim step. Penn Station is the busiest main line station in North America, but prior to the pandemic there had been mounting political pressure for its notoriously congested and cramped layout to be urgently modernised.

Amtrak undertook the first steps to refresh the Ticketed Waiting Area in 2019 when it opened a Starbucks coffee bar and removed an information booth to improve passenger flow. The latest updates include renewal of the furniture and fixtures, including seats with electrical and USB outlets, a modernised ceiling with LED lighting, a new information desk and a second entrance closer to the NJ Transit. This will improve access towards the 7th Avenue side of the station.

Two display screens have also been installed to show NJ Transit departure information, and there a suite for nursing mothers has been fitted.

The refurbishment work has cost $7∙2m, which was split between Amtrak and NJ Transit.