• Newark Penn Station: why so run-down?

  • Discussion related to New Jersey Transit rail and light rail operations.
Discussion related to New Jersey Transit rail and light rail operations.

Moderators: lensovet, Kaback9, nick11a

  by SwingMan
Improving the aesthetics does not improve service. These stations do not need people loitering about marveling how clean it is.
  by SemperFidelis
How much more service do you want at Newark? PATH, bus, light rail, trains every few minutes for NJ Transit and Amtrak. I can't really think of a way to get better service there short of extending some of the lines to increase thier utility.

It needs to be clean and attractive so people will want to use it. No one is going to go sightseeing there, except us railfans, but your daily commuter deserves a safe, well lit, clean space to travel to/from.
  by SecaucusJunction
The way some of these stations have been let to crumble and decay, they might be better off knocking them down and starting over from scratch. Secaucus is salvageable, Grand Central is decent and the new WTC Path station is beautiful. Other than that, the area is seriously lacking aesthetically pleasing stations.
  by SemperFidelis
Speaking of the track level, not the art deco main hall, of Newark I would tend to agree with SecaucusJunction. I just don't see it happening. The station was built so long ago and is hemmed in so tightly by development that there isn't really much they can do at track level aside from maybe rippimg down the whole thing section by section and putting up a large glass arch covering like some of the old stations and terminals and some of the nicer stations in Europe.
  by SouthernRailway
To jump back into this: I'm not looking for improvements to the station to expand capacity. The station is just so run-down that it creates a horrible impression of New Jersey, train travel, etc. At least the platform areas should be cleaned and repainted, and those stenciled "Track Location 1", etc. signs could be replaced with real, professionally-done ones.
  by Roadgeek Adam
I don't think its so bad. While, yes, the south ends of the platform needs some work, it could be a lot worse. It's a functional design, lets natural light in and yes, can look a bit dingy, it still works.
  by pdtrains
OMG. what do we have here, millenials, or out of towners? I'd love to see the "Dingy" restored. The original designs are gorgeous. Replacing everything with something "modern" . This sounds like Robert Moses, who wag behind knocking down the orig, gorgeous NYP, with the POS that has been there for the last 60 years. Sorry, but it sounds like u have no appreciation for restoring any of the original stations or signs. Sound like my daughters..no appreciation for any of the 1920's thru 1950's design. If u just have a dirt phobia, Yes, everything cud stand to get cleaned, but that takes money. Talk to the Christie administration.
  by OportRailfan
If NJT only rehabbed the Trk. 5 Platform, which is only used by them, who do you think owns the entire station?
  by SecaucusJunction
pd, I'd agree that they should restore the "downstairs" portion of the station to the original grandeur, move some stores and scrub the place down to the beams. It is possible with some work and funds. The upstairs really just needs to be torn apart and started over. Railroad stations in most other countries, and other parts of this country are not nearly this dingy. It makes the facilities just look dirty and gives the area a bad name. I think people around here are just used to this type of filth and have become desensitized.
  by Ken W2KB
OportRailfan wrote:If NJT only rehabbed the Trk. 5 Platform, which is only used by them, who do you think owns the entire station?
NJT owns the entire station.
  by SemperFidelis
I think it's clear that no one here wants to harm the historically significant, and beautiful, art deco portion of the station. It's also clear that some people just want to be upset and blame other people (millenials, really?) for changes. Those damned young people with thier opinions.

Since being socially tone deaf is kind of a thing these days, it might be worth noting that a common trend among millenials is, in fact, the maintenance of the historic and aesthetic portions of structures while reutilizing the space. Take a look at how many old mills and factories have been saved from leveling by being changed into apartments. As our manufacturing base is long since gone, and since any manufacturing concern would want a new building to operate out of anyway, it is these "millenials" who are choosing to save the nice looking portions of the space. I would doubt there are many "millenials" who have some desire to destroy a beautiful space that has no other function than acting as a transportation center.

As far as I cantell from reading this thread, everyone is in agreement that the main waiting area and the beautiful parts of the station ought to be maintained and that the real changes need to come to the platform areas. Yes, it requires money, but this thread is about suggestions for improvements and reasons as to why things are so dirty. Saying things about addressing complaints to the Christie administration doesn't really add anything to the conversation, IMHO.
  by JamesRR
Track 5's platform was completely renovated recently. The entire platform was replaced, new lighting was installed, the ceiling and subsequent structures were painted, new signage installed.

If they carried this type of renovation through the whole station it would make a world of difference. The platforms are crumbling.

Does anyone remember Newark Penn Station's condition during the 1970s decade which to me
was much more run down then what it is today?

I remember traveling through NWK during the second half of the 70s and remember how it was
to trainspot there with the wide variety of rail equipment that trains had back then. Today things
are much more standard for Amtrak,NJT and PATH trains. It was safe-especially during daylight-
and rush hours were literally the best time for anyone to railfan there. If you did not trespass in
any restricted area or not linger too long in an isolated spot such as the west end of Tracks 1 or
2 (both 18 car length platforms) you were not hassled the way one would be today.

After Amtrak took title in 1976 improvements began to interior facilities and then after NJT took
full title during the 1980s more renovations such as restoring the art deco main waiting room
were added. There was some improvements to the platform levels such as better lighting.

NWK is so busy today that more then likely construction to improve or renovate further platform
areas would cause serious congestion and/or major inconvenience for those that travel through
the station on a regular basis. Many like me would welcome improving NWK's condition alongside
preserving the past such as how both Amtrak and NJT kept PRR remnants in the main waiting
room area while improving the general condition of the very busy access ways to platforms as
a good example. I am all for improvements that can balance future use while preserving the
station's original PRR character where it is possible.

  by FlashingAspect
The homeless population is pretty crazy there right now also. I heard a guy OD'd/died in the bathroom today and another was taken to the hospital.