Architectural rendering of the new Moynihan rail station.
Planned east-west section of the Moynihan rail station through the concourse.
Planned north-south section of the Moynihan rail station through the train hall.
Phase I construction plan of the Moynihan rail station.

The Moynihan Rail Station project involves the construction of a new station to replace the existing James A. Farley post office building, situated on Eighth Avenue in New York, US. The new station is expected to serve as an annex to the existing Pennsylvania station to accommodate the growing passenger traffic.

The project is being executed in two phases by the Moynihan Station Development Corporation (MSDC). The MSDC is a subsidiary of the New York State agency Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC).

The estimated cost of phase I is $267m. In February 2010, the project received $83.3m in stimulus funds under the Federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

The remaining funds are being provided by the Metropolitan Transit Authority ($35m), the State of New York ($14m) and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey ($10m). Federal funds of about $110m have also been earmarked for the project.

Funding for phase II of the project, which is estimated to cost between $1.1bn and 1.5bn, has not yet been identified. The first phase broke ground towards the end of 2010 and will be completed by 2016.

The Moynihan station development has been included in the new Gateway Project, which was proposed by Amtrak in February 2011. The Gateway Project was announced following the cancellation of the Hudson Rail Tunnel project due to ballooning costs issues in October 2010.

The station development will be carried out under the Pennsylvania station expansion of the Gateway Project. The railroad operator has requested for additional $50m federal funding to carry out the preliminary design and works on the Pennsylvania station expansion.

Estimated to cost $13.5bn, the Gateway Project intends to increase the rail services between New Jersey and Manhattan while routing trains to the new expanded Pennsylvania station. It is expected to be completed by 2020.

Moynihan rail station project history

The project was originally proposed in 1990 by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who aimed at constructing a new station similar to the old Pennsylvania station, which was demolished in 1963. The existing Pennsylvania station located below Madison Square Garden needs to be expanded and transformed into a more efficient and safe railway terminal. The station handles about 550,000 passengers every day, overcrowding its corridors and concourses.

“The station handles about 550,000 passengers every day, overcrowding its corridors and concourses.”

The plan proposed by Senator Moynihan faced several hurdles, including a lack of financing, politics and disagreements among various parties involved, over the development plans. Initial plans for the project included the construction of a new station in place of the existing the Pennsylvania station. Construction was set to begin in 2006 but was delayed due to various problems.

In 2006, a new development plan was proposed, which included the construction of a new station above the existing Pennsylvania station and a new Madison Square Garden at the west end of the Farley building.

The plan also included the construction of modern office buildings, containing 5.5 million square feet of office space above the new station. In 2007, ESDC acquired the Farley building for the construction of the new station. The new project plan was approved in September 2009.

Moynihan rail station design and construction

In March 2010, Skidmore Owings & Merrill was awarded a contract to design the first phase of the project. The company had previously worked with the developers of the project in 2001 and provided a potato-chip design for the project.

Phase I of the project includes a two-fold increase in the length and breadth of the west end concourse to increase passenger circulation space. The expansion will also provide space for ticket vending machines. The phase includes the construction of 13 new escalators, elevators and stairs to the platforms.

“In March 2010, Skidmore Owings & Merrill was awarded a contract to design the first phase of the project.”

Two new entrances to the Farley building are to be constructed as part of the project. The entrances will reduce congestion at Pennsylvania station and provide better access to the west end of the station. The 33rd Street connector between the new station and Pennsylvania station will also be upgraded in phase I.

A sixth emergency platform will be added to Pennsylvania station in phase I. Other works in the phase include improving ventilation and catenary signal work. Phase I of the project is expected to increase the capacity of Pennsylvania station, reduce congestion and provide improved services for the disabled.

Phase II of the project involves the construction of a new sky-lit train station in the Farley building, which will also include retail space and other infrastructure. The original courtyard and glass roof of the Farley building will be retained, and the stonework and mortar will be refurbished. Above the train station, a new intermodal hall will be constructed. The hall will provide train concourse access from 31st and 33rd streets, and 9th Avenue.

As part of the project, Amtrak will shift its operations from the existing Pennsylvania station to the new train hall in the Farley building. The development of the area surrounding the Farley building into a commercial space is also being planned by various developers. The work is expected to generate some of the funds needed for phase II of the project.

Moynihan station services

“The station will serve as a major transportation hub.”

The new Moynihan station will serve as a major transportation hub for the region. Passengers will be able to use the services of three major operators, including Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road. Several of the New York City subway routes and two PATH lines (Hoboken / Newark) are also near the new station.

Moynihan railway station facilities

The new train hall will include various facilities such as information display systems, ticketing facilities, waiting lounges and ADA accessibility.