- NJ TRANSIT
- Long Island Rail Road
- Service Reliability
- Passenger Safety
Amtrak President and CEO Wick Moorman has announced a series of initiatives to strengthen railroad infrastructure and improve operations and preparedness at New York Penn Station, the nation’s busiest rail station and transportation facility.
The Penn Station improvement initiatives include:
Infrastructure Renewal at New York Penn Station
Amtrak will undertake a series of major track and switch renewal projects in Penn Station, beginning with the western portion of the station area. The first set of projects will occur in the area of tracks and switches known as “A Interlocking,” which serves as the critical sorting mechanism routing trains that enter Penn Station from the Hudson River tunnels and the Long Island Rail Road’s West Side Yard to the various station tracks and platforms. While Amtrak has maintained and repaired this aging infrastructure, some of which dates to the 1970s, full replacement is now required to improve the reliability of this infrastructure at this critical moment in the station's history. Rather than proceed with the full replacement of these components across an extended period stretching out over several years, as originally scheduled, Amtrak now plans to advance this work through a series of major projects beginning in May and continuing through the fall in order to quickly achieve the benefits of this renewal work for our partners and passengers. In addition to the work in A Interlocking, further renewal work of various station tracks will be undertaken through approximately June 2018, with a majority of that work done on weekends.
New York Penn Station Passenger Concourse Coordination Review
Amtrak has commissioned former Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO and Chairman Tom Prendergast to independently review the interaction, coordination and collaboration between the railroads’ various passenger concourses within Penn Station. The review will focus on the current methods of managing daily operations within the station concourses, including during disruptions, events or incidents, as well as look for opportunities to strengthen coordination between all parties to improve the passenger experience, safety and security. While Amtrak is the owner of Penn Station, passenger concourse operations and control of various areas within the station are managed individually by Amtrak, LIRR and NJT. Mr. Prendergast will review these relationships and develop recommendations on how the three railroads, working with other relevant parties, can improve the passenger experience, signage and wayfinding, video and communications, and incident response across the entire station.
Development of a Joint Station Concourse Operations Center
Amtrak is proposing that the three railroads serving Penn Station develop a joint station concourse operations center that brings together the managers of the various Penn Station concourses and technology to strengthen coordination, enhance the passenger experience and improve our responses to disruptions, incidents and other events that occur anywhere in the station. While the tracks and other railroad operational elements of Penn Station are controlled at the Penn Station Control Center facility, which brings together all three railroads in various capacities, management of the station's passenger concourses lacks a similarly integrated facility to promote information-sharing, joint decision-making and the leveraging of technology. Amtrak will be seeking the support of LIRR and NJT to jointly plan, develop and staff a new facility at Penn Station and will use the results of the Penn Station Passenger Concourse Coordination Review to further inform these efforts.
Safety & Security
In the next several weeks, Amtrak will assemble a task force with our partner railroads, first responders, law enforcement and other stakeholders to review protocols relating to disabled trains and ensure that adequate procedures are documented, trained and exercised. The task force will also examine the need for additional equipment and technology and review the functions of personnel during an incident to ensure that existing protocols are comprehensive and appropriate. The findings of the task force will be used to help inform the Penn Station Passenger Concourse Coordination Review efforts.
Additionally, Amtrak is creating a mobile response team to address potential station overcrowding during peak periods, further equipping its New York Division Amtrak Police Department (APD) officers with multi-band interoperable radios to improve intra-agency communication and is already in the process of updating its Video Surveillance and Access Control System design for Penn Station platforms, tunnels and ventilation shafts.
Check back here or at https://www.amtrak.com/nyprenewal for regular project updates.