Arup-led team wins $73m preliminary design contract for expanded Penn Station

The crowded LIRR Concourse at Penn Station, 2016 (Glugalug/CC BY-SA 4.0)
The crowded LIRR Concourse at Penn Station, 2016 (Glugalug/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Amtrak has hired a team led by UK-headquartered Arup to begin designing the expansion of the United States’ busiest rail hub, New York Penn Station.

The $73m contract sees it designing options for the first new tracks, platforms and concourses at the station in more than a century.

Amtrak wants to double capacity into the station from the west, relieving a major bottleneck on the Northeast Corridor. The expansion is part of the overarching Gateway Program involving Amtrak, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and NJ Transit.

The design team includes Grimshaw, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, Hatch LTK, and Lendlease. Lendlease worked with Arup on HS2 Euston and Kings Cross stations in London, Fulton Center, Hudson Yards and Second Avenue Subway in New York and the Union Square Development at Kowloon Station in Hong Kong.

Their preliminary designs will produce concepts for analysis in the federal environmental review for the station’s expansion.

Yearly passenger traffic there has tripled from 200,000 in 1968 to 600,000 today, noted NJ Transit president Kevin S. Corbett.

“The existing station, even when fully renovated, will still be woefully inadequate to meet current demand much less the anticipated growth for the coming decades,” he said. “This design work is the foundation upon which this vital expansion project will be built, and sets the stage to realizing the full benefits the Gateway Program will deliver to this region.”

Gillian Blake, Arup principal and project manager, called the project “one of the most ambitious, technically challenging, and necessary proposals in New York’s history”.

“Our goal is to create a place that is easily navigable and accessible, and supports future growth in capacity, while maintaining and enhancing safe and efficient rail operations,” she said.

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