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Improved Pedestrian Flow at World’s Busiest Station Completed 10 Months Ahead of Schedule; Will Relieve Congestion Due to Post-September 11 Ridership Increases

NEW YORK, NY, November 12, 2001 -- NJ TRANSIT rail commuters bound for Penn Station New York will benefit from the early opening of a new stairway and escalators on Penn Station platforms during the morning rush hour -- accommodating more than 30 trains during the morning rush hour.

Five new escalators and one new stairway are scheduled to open on tracks 1 through 12, Monday, November 19, between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., 10 months ahead of schedule. The stairway/escalators will only be open during the three-hour morning period each weekday, allowing construction to continue on the East End Concourse outside those hours. The early opening of the stairway/escalators will help the Corporation address a 44 percent increase in ridership at Penn Station following the September 11 terrorist attack in New York.

"NJ TRANSIT has been leaving no stone unturned in its effort to address significant post-September 11 ridership increases," said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and State Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein. "This latest effort will help to relieve crowding on the platforms as thousands of passengers exit trains during the morning commute."

"This project serves as a relief valve to help improve vertical pedestrian flow at the station where thousands of passengers are attempting to get to the subways or streets of New York," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Jeffrey A. Warsh. “The stairs and escalators were originally scheduled to open next year as part of our new East End Concourse project. Fortunately, we were able to expedite the project, increasing vertical pedestrian flow 25 percent for thousands of veteran and new riders.”

Penn Station New York is currently served by 14 Northeast Corridor, nine North Jersey Coast Line and nine MidTOWN DIRECT trains operating between New Jersey and New York from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. each weekday. The station also is served by trains operated by Amtrak and the Long Island Rail Road.

Passengers wishing to use the new escalators and stairway on November 19 are advised to board the front two cars of trains bound for New York, where they will disembark on the east end of the platforms at Penn Station. Passengers should only walk in designated areas, closely following the temporary directional signs taking them from the stairway/escalators to connecting subway service, Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road or New York City streets.

The following stairways/escalators are scheduled to open on weekdays beginning November 19 between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. only:

  • One new escalator serving tracks 1 and 2. These tracks are currently served by four stairways.
  • One new escalator serving tracks 3 and 4. These tracks are currently served by three stairways and one escalator.
  • One new stairway serving tracks 5 and 6. These tracks are currently served by two stairways and two escalators.
  • One new escalator serving tracks 7 and 8. These tracks are currently served by two stairways and two escalators.
  • One new escalator serving tracks 9 and 10. These tracks are currently served by one stairway and three escalators.
  • One new escalator serving tracks 11 and 12. These tracks are currently served by one stairway and three escalators.

The new stairs and escalators are part of NJ TRANSIT's $115 million East End Concourse project, which is approximately 70 percent complete. The 50,000-square-foot split-level concourse is being constructed at the southeast corner of Penn Station New York near the corner of 7th Avenue and 31st Street. When completed in fall 2002, the East End Concourse will include seven additional escalators and seven additional stairways, including those opening today. The concourse also will consist of new passenger waiting areas, train service monitors, restrooms, expanded customer service and ticketing facilities and a new information booth.

Prior to September 11, Penn Station New York accommodated 33,700 NJ TRANSIT riders on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Since September 11, that number has increased to 48,500 weekday riders during the same time period.

NJ TRANSIT will continue to provide relief to passengers next year beginning with the opening of all remaining escalators and stairways at the station next spring, bringing the total number of escalators and elevators on all platforms to 14. Also in the spring, new elevators between the platforms and the station will open. A section of the concourse -- providing a wider exit area for passengers -- will open in summer 2002. The grand opening for the entire concourse is scheduled for fall 2002.

For further information, riders can call NJ TRANSIT between 6 a.m. and midnight at 1-800-772-2222 or at 973-762-5100 from out of state. For persons with hearing impairments, the number is 1-800-772-2287. Customers can also check NJ TRANSIT's website,

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing Bus, rail and light rail services for 380,600 daily commuters on 240 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 163 rail stations, 26 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.