USA: Amtrak announced on August 9 that it had commissioned an independent review of the way in which the three railroads serving New York’s Penn Station work together. The objective is to improve the ‘design, functionality, communications and co-ordination’ of the passenger facilities.

While Amtrak is the station owner, commuter rail operators Long Island Rail Road and NJ Transit currently manage their own concourses which together account for a majority of the daily users. Amtrak has appointed AECOM and Network Rail Consulting to review the relationship between the three railroads and make recommendations about how they can work together better. It has also convened a working group of experts from the three operators to support the study. The review is due to report in early 2018, after which Amtrak, NJT and LIRR will determine the next steps for implementation.

The consultants have been asked to look at the management of daily operations within the three concourses, including at times of service disruption, and to identify opportunities to strengthen co-ordination to improve the passenger experience, safety and security. Drawing on international best practice at busy main line and urban stations and airports, the consultants have been asked to develop recommendations for implementing a unified operations centre to manage the three concourses, as well as an overall plan for improvements to the station’s passenger facilities. This will include guidance on operations and maintenance partnerships, and is expected to feed into Amtrak’s $3bn redevelopment of Penn Station under the Moynihan Station project.

‘New York Penn Station is the busiest rail hub in the country, and Amtrak is dedicated to making improvements to the railroad and the station that will improve the passenger experience’, said CEO Wick Moorman. ‘We have made significant progress in renewing the rail infrastructure, and are now taking steps to improve the passenger areas. We have assembled a top-notch team of national and international experts to work with the railroads on delivering solutions that will greatly improve the passenger experience.’