Moynihan Train Hall opens for business

Jan. 4, 2021
The $1.6-billion train hall and improved NY Penn Station will operate as one complex designed for passenger comfort.

The Moynihan Train Hall, once home to a mail sorting room for a former post office, will now serve as a centerpiece of a modern train hub and one that holds the title of busiest passenger transportation facility in the Western Hemisphere.

Moynihan Train Hall will operate as a single complex with New York Penn Station and expands the station's capacity by 50 percent.

The Moynihan Train Hall, which is inside the Farley Post Office building, and the recently improved New York Penn Station will operate as a single complex that is designed to ease crowding and improve passenger comfort and security. With the opening of the train hall, New York Penn Stations concourse space is expanded by 50 percent.

"The completion of this gorgeous new train hall would be a special accomplishment at any time, but it's an extraordinary accomplishment today because we're at a place where no one ever envisioned being. This has been a traumatic year, both individually and collectively, and the question facing us has been, how do we respond?" said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a man of true vision. He saw the potential in an underutilized post office and knew that if done correctly, this facility could not only give New York the transit hub it has long deserved, but serve as a monument to the public itself. We built this as a statement of who we are, and who we aspire to be. Is it grand? Yes. Is it bold? Yes, because that is the spirit of New York and that is the statement we want to make to our visitors, to our children and to future generations. As dark as 2020 has been, this new hall will bring the light, literally and figuratively, for everyone who visits this great city."

All Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Amtrak trains are now served by the 17 tracks accessible from the 255,000-square-foot train hall, which also provides a direct connection to 9th Avenue and the 8th Avenue Subway.

Moynihan Train Hall will serve Amtrak’s new Acela fleet when it enters service in 2021. Amtrak says the train hall includes large, spacious areas for customers to explore, accessible features that cater to the needs of all Amtrak customers, state-of-the-art technologies to improve the boarding experience, a large boarding concourse, a new reserved customer waiting room, Red Cap Service and a new, flagship premium Metropolitan Lounge, providing select travelers with a high-quality experience, including expanded food and beverage offerings.

“Moynihan Train Hall represents Amtrak’s commitment to offering the best possible travel experience,” said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn. “Between the improved passenger comfort and security, the new amenities and enhanced accessibility features, this is the type of train station that the late Sen. Moynihan always envisioned for New York City travelers.”

Moynihan Train Hall integrates clear, consistent wayfinding and messaging, including dozens of high-res LED and LCD displays throughout the facility that provide up-to-the-minute transit information. The upgraded commuter experience also features designated customer service locations for both railroads, a free public Wi-Fi network utilizing next-generation Wi-Fi 6 and a dedicated lounge for nursing mothers.

Unique and striking elements within the Moynihan Train Hall include a one-acre sky-lit atrium with glass 92 feet above the floor, a six-foot by 12-foot signature clock designed to evoke “nostalgia for the golden age of rail travel” and more than 80,000-square feet of marble on the floors and walls that was sourced from the same quarries in Tennessee that provided Grand Central Terminal’s marble more than a century ago.

The train hall was delivered through a public-private partnership led by Empire State Development, with Vornado Realty Trust, The Related Companies, Skanska, MTA, LIRR, Amtrak and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

While the train hall is the gem of the new complex, another element to open was the East End Gateway to the LIRR Concourse at New York Penn Station. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says the new entrance gives Penn Station a front door identity on Seventh Avenue for the first time, as well as provides direct access for customers headed from street level to the LIRR, as well as to NYC Transit’s 1,2,3, A, C and E subway lines. Prior to the new entrance, customers had to wind their way through Penn Station’s Amtrak level to reach the LIRR Concourse.

The new East End Gateway effectively doubles the ingress and egress between the street level and the existing Penn Station’s LIRR Concourse and includes three new state-of-the-art escalators and a staircase. The escalators are equipped with smart features including heaters to ensure operation during cold weather and a "sleep mode" that will save energy and increase their longevity.

"LIRR customers have long awaited a central hub that not only meets their travel needs but goes above and beyond to deliver a world-class experience — and I'm proud that day has finally come,” said LIRR President Phil Eng.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.

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Sept. 30, 2011