USA: Amtrak will start to operate out of the converted Moynihan Train Hall from January 1 to boost its passenger handling capacity at New York’s Penn Station, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on December 28.


Completed at a cost of $1·6bn, the conversion of the former James A Farley Post Office building on 8th Avenue in midtown Manhattan was first proposed in 1985 and championed for many years by New York’s late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, after whom the facility has been dedicated. Together with related improvements at Penn Station, the additional capacity is intended to improve both passenger comfort and security for long-distance travellers and commuters using Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.


The Beaux-Arts style post office, designed by the same architect as the long-demolished station building, is being repurposed by a consortium of Related Companies, Vornado Realty and Skanska, under a $1·6bn fixed-price contract awarded by New York state’s regeneration arm Empire State Developments. The building includes retail and office developments as well as passenger circulating areas for both for Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road.


The centrepiece is an atrium waiting area with a glazed 28 m high skylight comparable in size to the Main Hall at the city’s Grand Central Terminal. This expands the station’s overall passenger space by 23 600 m2. Other parts of the building have been repurposed to provide nearly 70 000 m2 of commercial offices, with Facebook as primary tenant. LIRR opened its new concourse and connecting walkways in June 2017.


‘Amtrak’s Moynihan Train Hall will deliver the world-class rail travel experience our customers deserve when travelling to and from this incredible city’, said board chairman Tony Coscia. ‘The beautiful vistas, modern design, new amenities and enhanced accessibility features showcase the kinds of improvements Amtrak is undertaking across our network.’

No additional platforms have been provided as part of the project. The new western concourse under the Moynihan Train Hall provides access to tracks 5 to 16, which are used by Amtrak, but the terminal tracks 1 to 4 used primarily by NJ Transit are only accessible from Penn Station. The Moynihan facilities may in future be used by Metro-North, which is hoping to operate into Penn Station after some LIRR services are diverted to Grand Central using the East Side Access tunnels.