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ICYMI: Governor Hochul Reveals Wider, Brighter LIRR Concourse at Penn Station

Long Island Rail Road
Updated Sep 6, 2022 2:15 p.m.
Penn Concourse

33rd Street Concourse Approximately Doubled in Width

18-Foot-High Illuminated Ceiling Runs from Seventh Avenue to Eighth Avenue Subways

Entire LIRR Concourse Project Will Be Complete Spring of 2023

Photos of LIRR Concourse Available Here

Governor Kathy Hochul today unveiled a dramatically more spacious Long Island Rail Road Concourse at Penn Station. Crews have widened the concourse to 57 feet from the previous 30 and have raised the ceilings to 18 feet. The concourse stretches from Seventh Avenue near the 1/2/3 subway to Eighth Avenue near the A/C/E subway and now features 9,500 square feet of programmable color changing LED ceiling lights. The reopening of the concourse - on time and on budget - is a step toward the full-scale reconstruction of Penn Station into a modern, spacious, world-class single-level terminal that is open to natural light. The reconstruction of the Penn Station LIRR concourse is one of three major projects that is transforming the experience of LIRR riders in the coming months, along with opening of service to Grand Central Madison and the opening of a new Main Line third track.  

"Penn Station isn't just the busiest transit hub in North America, it is also the beating heart of New York City, and for too long it hasn't provided an experience worthy of New Yorkers," Governor Hochul said. "Today, we're raising the roof on Penn Station — literally and figuratively - and paving the way for a better future as we unveil a wider, brighter Long Island Rail Road concourse. We're one step closer to making Penn a world-class transit hub and making New York an even more livable, and lovable, city." 

Each day, more than half of Penn Station's 600,000 users pass through the LIRR concourse, including the vast majority of Penn Station's over 200,000 daily LIRR riders. When the LIRR Concourse project is complete in early 2023, the customer experience at Penn Station will also be greatly enhanced by:  

  • New mechanical systems that allow for better air circulation and an expanded volume of fresh air.
  • Enhanced accessibility including a new elevator entrance, the replacement of four elevators and new elevator communication systems. 
  • Intuitive wayfinding.
  • More retail and dining options. 

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, "This wider, brighter LIRR concourse is just a glimpse of what is coming -- not only LIRR riders but for all New Yorkers. Governor Hochul has prioritized fixing Penn Station, and this project shows the MTA is ready to finish transforming the crummy terminal New Yorkers have been suffering with for 50-plus years into a world-class facility."   

Long Island Rail Road Interim President and Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi said, "The LIRR has taken another step towards its transformation into a modern, more flexible and more accessible railroad. The new elevated ceilings, bright lights, better air flow and improved accessibility create a more comfortable and welcoming space for everyone."   

MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer said, "The MTA continues to reach project milestones on-time and the unveiling of new, higher ceilings and the wider concourse is a sign of things to come at Penn Station when we finish this project and move on to the full reconstruction of the station. This is just the beginning of the substantial enhancements Penn Station riders will experience starting this fall."  

Today's unveiled LIRR Concourse project features $380 million in state funding with 30 percent of the contracts awarded to minority and women owned businesses. The total cost of the corridor amounts to $559 million.  

Construction began on the East End Gateway in June of 2019 which opened to the public in December 2020.   

In March 2022, seven massive low-hanging ten-ton beams informally known as "Head Knockers" - that historically limited the heights in Penn Station passageways to 6 feet, 8 inches were removed. The structures above Penn Station are now supported by an innovative structural framing system, installed by Skanska/AECOM.