Penn Station Renovation & Expansion & Moynihan Station

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goodnightjohnwayne
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Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by goodnightjohnwayne » Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:10 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:The number one benefit would be taking the station out of the rat-hole basement under Penn Station and giving travelers a proper gateway to one of the greatest cities in the world.
Yes, but will the costs, both in term of taxpayer money, and the inconvenience to travelers during the long years of construction, truly justify the expenditure? We're talking about the potential expenditure of billions, and it's far from certain that the result will be as conveniently laid out as today's Penn Station.

There's a lot to be said for the sheer efficiency of the current station. It's only a few steps from the ticket counter, to the baggage check, to the Acela Lounge, or to the secure waiting area for coach passengers. The busiest passenger station in the country is very user friendly, with a simple layout.

As far as I'm concerned, the only issue is the lack of clean and secure bathrooms for the exclusive use of ticketed Amtrak coach passengers. Other than that, I really don't have any complaints regarding the function, location or convenience of Penn Station.


Otto Vondrak wrote:When did it become wrong in this society to build beautiful things? Here's a chance to correct what was done so many years ago and possibly bring new development to the area as well. Or would we maintain a series of cinder-block shantys to serve our national passenger rail network?

-otto-
I'm inclined to say that the redevelopment of Penn Station in the 1960s was the right business move, both at the time and subsequently. The old Pennsylvania Station had a mammoth footprint and represented a far less efficient use of valuable real estate than Grand Central.

As far as I'm concerned, the important part of the turn of the century Pennsylvania Station, the elaborate working infrastructure, remains intact and fully functional, while the monumental structure above was superfluous to the needs of a modern rail travel. It's also worth noting that the old station was never air conditioned, and with the glass roof, must have been unbearable at times in the summer. From the perspective of a 1960s commuter, the new air conditioned station must have seemed like an improvement over the old mausoleum.

shane781

Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by shane781 » Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:53 pm

As someone who was born in 1991 and therefore has no idea what the old Penn Station looks like has only a limited amount of facts to back myself up with, but since I travel to NYC to see family and often take Amtrak to get there, gotta love those AEM7's , Penn Station blows!!! Coming down from Boston, where we have the beautiful South Station, that is very efficient with pax movement and whatnot, and also has a huge waiting area, almost a great hall type atmosphere to it, I like to compare NYP to Boston's Back Bay station, a secondary main station it seems, with the feel of it being put there almost as an afterthought. The problem is, Penn is like THE gateway to NYC, not a back up station!!! Why can't the brilliant minds that be figure out a way to utilize Grand Central, maybe have Amtrak go there or LIRR or someone. It would certainly help relieve Penn.

goodnightjohnwayne
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Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by goodnightjohnwayne » Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:43 pm

shane781 wrote:As someone who was born in 1991 and therefore has no idea what the old Penn Station looks like has only a limited amount of facts to back myself up with, but since I travel to NYC to see family and often take Amtrak to get there, gotta love those AEM7's , Penn Station blows!!! Coming down from Boston, where we have the beautiful South Station, that is very efficient with pax movement and whatnot, and also has a huge waiting area, almost a great hall type atmosphere to it, I like to compare NYP to Boston's Back Bay station, a secondary main station it seems, with the feel of it being put there almost as an afterthought. The problem is, Penn is like THE gateway to NYC, not a back up station!!! Why can't the brilliant minds that be figure out a way to utilize Grand Central, maybe have Amtrak go there or LIRR or someone. It would certainly help relieve Penn.
Back in 1991, the year you were born, Amtrak left Grand Central transferred all service to Penn Station after the long delayed "Empire Connection," which was supposed to have been completed back in the days of Penn Central, finally was finished. Before that, passengers coming into Grand Central from points north had to transfer to Penn Station by bus to connect to NE Corridor trains. Of course back then, before the restoration was complete, Grand Central was pretty unpleasant.

Oddly enough, the LIRR is going to go into Grand Central, but that's another story.

These days, it's far easier to take an Empire Service train into Penn Station to make a connection to Boston or Washington. As you can imagine, a crosstown bus ride between Grand Central and Penn Station caused a lot of missed connections.

Suburban Station
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Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by Suburban Station » Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:52 pm

DutchRailnut wrote:The whole Idea is to put a refurbished tent over same circus, it only moves the station away from the main stram of traffic and conveniences with trains still being on same old platforms.
straight and to the point. it's great to build pretty things but for a $1.5bn and not to solve any problems? that's a political solution if I ever heard one. the thing that annoys me the most is the condition of Penn Station. It doesn't HAVE to be that bad. Can an HVAC system capable of handling the traffic really not be installed? Does the amtrak waiting area really have to be in the middle of the concourse? does the station really have to look so out of date and poorly maintained? serious renovations (not total replacement serious, but all other NEC stations save maybe baltimore have been fairly modernized...DC has fancy plasmas now...guess we know where the power is)

goodnightjohnwayne
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Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by goodnightjohnwayne » Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:23 pm

Suburban Station wrote:Does the amtrak waiting area really have to be in the middle of the concourse?
I remember how long it took to construct that waiting area in the middle of the concourse! By the looks of that enclosure, you would have thought it would have taken a couple of days. Nope. It took months. And months. The dirty secret is that any public project in New York City cost far more and takes longer than it should.

Having said that, the current waiting area seems miraculous in comparison to what Amtrak coach passenger had in the really "bad old days."

alewifebp
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Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by alewifebp » Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:57 pm

Well, I don't think anyone can deny that the current PSNY is a complete and utter dump. If they try to cram any more people in to that place during rush hour, we'll need those "people pushers" like they have in Japan to force people in to the station. Space is at an extreme premium. And while looking horrid in some areas, they can't even keep the place adequately climate controlled. It really is a big mess. The idea for Moynihan is to make a grand entrance to NYC, one that it deserves, for your long distance passengers. Commuters are a separate issue.

However, I clearly see the operational problems of that area, and what is really needed is a grand scheme, multi-agency/state rethink. THE Tunnel coming should have been a great impetus to do this, but that's not going to happen. Of course, I realize that this would cost billions, but the problem isn't going away either.

One has to wonder how different the situation would have been if the PRR had decided to cross the Hudson with the 6-10 track bridge that was on the drawing board at the time.

Regarding MSG, I don't see any reason why that has to be a part of the plan, either. A new MSG has also been on the drawing board to be relocated over the yards. Too many things in a single block radius.

MrBoh
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Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by MrBoh » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:11 am

Just for reference, this drawing shows the track layout at Penn station with the streets overlayed so you can see how some of the platforms on the middle tracks do extend west past 8th street to under the post office building. They are however at the extreme western end of the platforms. Also, I don't know if this is still the current layout since this is a drawing from 1944.

And for those who haven't seen pictures of the original Penn Station

Interior

Exterior

mlrr
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Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by mlrr » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:35 am

I agree 100% with Otto.

In regards to commuters not needing a grand entrance; How do you explain Grand Central Terminal. Grand Central ONLY handles commuters (Considering the system it currently served that primarly serves commuters).

On the other hand, Penn handles commuters AND visitors/tourist/travlers/etc. I've said a number of times throughout; Penn Station opens up NYC to the rest of the country by rail (i.e., Amtrak need not operate out of GCT unless there's a problem on the Empire Line on the west side of Manhattan). A rathole is not the way to regularly welcome visitors to one of the greatest cities in the world.

Suburban Station
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Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by Suburban Station » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:47 am

alewifebp wrote:Well, I don't think anyone can deny that the current PSNY is a complete and utter dump. If they try to cram any more people in to that place during rush hour, we'll need those "people pushers" like they have in Japan to force people in to the station. Space is at an extreme premium. And while looking horrid in some areas, they can't even keep the place adequately climate controlled. It really is a big mess. The idea for Moynihan is to make a grand entrance to NYC, one that it deserves, for your long distance passengers. Commuters are a separate issue.
this is the point though. It doesn't HAVE to be as dumpy as it is and I have a hard time believing it's impossible, in this day and age, to keep it climate controlled. the current station has been allowed to be run extremely poorly while people spend decades arguing about solutions.

not that the old station wasn't grand, but I have heard it wasn't without it's problems.

mlrr
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Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by mlrr » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:00 am

Climate control was an issue for many buildings built during NYP's time; even decades after. One of the big things about GCT's rennovation in the '90s was the installation of climate control.

The station definitely had its problems in its latter years as maintenance was neglected (which built a case for its destruction in the '60s as it was allowed to deteriorate). This outcome as a result of deferred maintenance however is not limited to landmark structures or old buildings.

trainhq
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Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by trainhq » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:28 am

The current Penn station is jammed and is a disgrace to the city. Travelers in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington enter through stations (rightly) restored to their rail age glory. The Farley building is exactly the right style and location for a train station (although the inscription on the top, "..neither rain nor hail nor dead of night shall stop these carriers from their appointed rounds..." would not necessarily apply to Amtrak (or the LIRR!)). To build a similar replacement at that location would cost hundreds of millions more than the existing station. The conversion is long overdue.

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:36 am

trainhq wrote:The current Penn station is jammed and is a disgrace to the city.
Lest we forget, "help is on the way" with the new NJTransit station.

While many well founded concerns regarding the completely separate station structure and North River tunnels can be raised, it does nevertheless represent additional track and passenger convenience capacity.

Finally, take it from one who "was there", you didn't want to see "Old Penn" circa 1964; that was the disgrace to the city.

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JamesRR
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Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by JamesRR » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:14 am

goodnightjohnwayne wrote:
As far as I'm concerned, the only issue is the lack of clean and secure bathrooms for the exclusive use of ticketed Amtrak coach passengers. Other than that, I really don't have any complaints regarding the function, location or convenience of Penn Station.

Do you actually use it on a daily basis? It is one of the most confusing major rail stations in existence. It has numerous passageways that are cramped, horrible inconsistent signage, and inadequate space for the crowds it handles. If you're ever there when service is suspended, you will see how quickly it fills up. Yes, it's conveniently located to subways and MSG, but Grand Central is more convenient for thousands of workers, being closer to the midtown business district.

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JamesRR
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Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by JamesRR » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:17 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
trainhq wrote:The current Penn station is jammed and is a disgrace to the city.
Lest we forget, "help is on the way" with the new NJTransit station.

While many well founded concerns regarding the completely separate station structure and North River tunnels can be raised, it does nevertheless represent additional track and passenger convenience capacity.

Finally, take it from one who "was there", you didn't want to see "Old Penn" circa 1964; that was the disgrace to the city.

I agree. While many criticize the new NJT plan for its lack of track connection to the existing Penn St, you can't deny it will help a great deal. NJT will be able to funnel passengers directly into the new terminal, reducing some crowding at the current Penn. If they're smart, they will have designated tracks for each line, as Septa does in Philly.

BTW, does anyone know if NJT is now out of the Farley Bldg? They were the only RR who had planned to go into it? Perhaps they will take over Amtrak's concourse at the current Penn.

Jtgshu
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Re: Amtrak deal may revive Moynihan station

Post by Jtgshu » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:45 am

NJT is not out in the Farley Building, there has been no changes to Penn Station with regard to the Farley Building as of yet. the only change as of late, is that NJT opened a stairway and entrance from its 7th Ave Concourse actually out to Seventh Ave. There was no access before. I do believe, however, that work is expected to being in the next year or two in expanding the lower track platforms west to connect with a new concourse for the Farley Buliding. I saw a timeline somewhere, but I can't remember if it was on NJT's site or the ARC or Moynaihan station site or even elsewhere.

The NJT 34th St. Station might not help as much as one would think, as a lot of those slots are destined for new service and expansion of existing service. While NYP might have a LITTLE relief, don't expect it to be that much, as MOST (not all, but MOST) of the trains that go to NYP now will continue to go to NYP in the future after 34th St. station opens.

I thought Moynihan was never dead, just that Amtrak wasn't on board. As far as I remember, NJT was going to be the lead tennent in there, and while it would have been desirable to have Amtrak on board, them not being on board didn't mean the project was dead. It would have been great for NY State and the Feds to pay for a pretty much exclusive NJT station area :)
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