Penn Station reminds many visitors of a rundown suburban mall rather than a world-class transportation hub for one of the greatest cities in the world. But the dirty, decrepit, cramped train station could soon be but a bad memory for the 650,000 rail riders who pass through every day according to a recent update on a major overhaul to the space (the original renovation plans were revealed in January). When completed in December 2020 at an estimated cost of $1.6 billion, the Pennsylvania Station-Farley Complex will provide travelers with lots of light and lots more room. Basically the exact opposite of the current Penn Station. Related Companies, Vornado Realty LP and Skanska AB are teaming up on the redevelopment project. The three companies will work off of renderings from design firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM).

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As part of the new plan, the historic James A. Farley Post Office Building across Eighth Avenue from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden will be transformed into the Moynihan Train Hall. The 250,000-square-foot transit hub will include 112,000 square feet of retail plus Amtrak and Long Island Railroad (LIRR) waiting areas — all under a new skylight in the building’s steel trusses that will bring in natural light. Moynihan Train Hall will eventually service Metro-North passengers. A total of nine platforms and 17 tracks will be accessible from the Train Hall.

Related: SOM Redesigns NYC’s Penn Station to Include Light-Filled Moynihan Station

The project will also involve the rebuilding of the LIRR concourses. The width will lengthen from around 25-feet to 70-feet-wide and the ceiling height will rise to 18 feet with an LED screen which will appear as a blue sky with clouds. In addition to upgrades to the concourses, the two 34th Street–Penn Station subway stops on the Seventh and Eighth Avenue lines will be rebuilt.

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Since Amtrak is moving to Moynihan Train Hall, the vacated area of Penn Station will be redeveloped by Amtrak and Empire State Development. Gov. Cuomo also said that consideration will be given to increased train capacity from The Gateway Project, a proposed tunnel that is expected to relieve congestion from Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor passenger trains entering Manhattan from New Jersey under the Hudson River.

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“New York’s tomorrow depends on what we do today, and the new Moynihan Train Hall will be a world-class 21st century transportation hub,” said Governor Cuomo. “With more than twice the passengers of all JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark airports combined, the current Penn Station is overcrowded, decrepit, and claustrophobic. The Moynihan Train Hall will have more space than Grand Central’s main concourse, housing both Amtrak and LIRR ticketing and waiting areas, along with state-of-the-art security features, a modern, digital passenger experience, and a host of dining and retail options. This is not a plan – this is what’s going to happen. People are going to walk through this station and recognize that this is New York.”

Via Business Insider

Images via Flickr