More improvements on the way for key transportation hub
BALTIMORE – Amtrak and the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) today announce completion of a $1 million Joint Benefit project to renovate and modernize the restroom facilities at Baltimore Penn Station. The project, which began in July 2013, opens ahead of schedule and features more stalls and new fixtures that meet ADA accessibility requirements. MTA provided funding for the project through the Joint Benefits Program with Amtrak.
“I know that all travelers, as well as the entire Baltimore community, will benefit from the ongoing improvements at Penn Station,” said Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07). “I applaud Mayor Rawlings-Blake, Amtrak, and the Maryland Transit Administration for their work, and I am hopeful that we can continue to work together to transform Penn Station into a world-class gateway into Baltimore.”
An additional $2.2 million in station upgrades are planned over the next eighteen months including a new ADA-compliant Passenger Information Display system, expanded community programming on the plaza and the launch of an exciting multimedia experience for visitors arriving by rail.
The restroom upgrades build upon nearly $8.5 million in Amtrak and State-funded investments in the historic station over the past three years, delivering fully restored historic concourse windows, new platform lighting and displays, a new electronic train status information board, HVAC upgrades, a new fire suppression system and refinished floors.
“Amtrak and our partners in Maryland continue to work together to make important improvements to enhance the station and passenger experience,” said Stephen Gardner, Amtrak vice president of Northeast Corridor infrastructure and investment development. “Penn Station is a key multimodal transportation hub for the region, and will continue to play an important role in planning for increasing demand on the Northeast Corridor.”
“Under Governor Martin O’Malley’s leadership, Maryland is making significant investments to make transit more accessible, convenient and enjoyable for more people,” said MTA Administrator Robert Smith. “From adding weekend service on the Penn Line from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., to making important upgrades to this great American station, we are making targeted investments to drive up transit ridership. I want to thank our Penn Station customers for their patience during construction.”
This summer, Penn Station Plaza underwent a significant transformation with the installation of new furniture courtesy of Baltimore City and landscaping and bicycle racks provided by the Parking Authority of Baltimore City. Funding for the plaza furniture was provided by a $27,000 grant from the Deutsch Foundation. The plaza improvements set the stage for expanded outdoor public events led by Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc.
“The public space outside Penn Station is the perfect location in which to bring the community together,” said Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “We have seen how successfully other cities have launched similar programs and are thrilled to see that same energy and enthusiasm right here in downtown Baltimore.”
Beginning this fall, Baltimore visitors arriving by rail will be greeted by a multimediaenabled LCD welcome sign, which will be installed along with hillside landscaping on the northwest side of the tracks where trains pull into Penn Station. The Downtown Partnership and Visit Baltimore are working together to purchase the sign, which will also highlight Baltimore assets, attractions and cultural events.
As Amtrak and its city and state partners continue to look for opportunities to improve the passenger experience at Penn Station, a Master Planning effort is under way to determine the highest and best use of the station and rail infrastructure with a forward-looking approach towards overall capacity growth along the Northeast Corridor. The Master Plan will integrate three major components over the next twenty-four months: the State of Good Repair Study; the Operations and Facilities Plan; and the Commercial Development Plan.
Baltimore Penn Station is a key regional transportation hub served by Amtrak’s Acela Express, Northeast Regional and short- and long-distance services. In FY 2012, the station surpassed 1,000,000 Amtrak passengers for the first time. The commuter operations of Maryland’s MARC Penn Line, light rail and bus services can also be accessed via the station.
Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. Amtrak and its state and commuter partners move people, the economy and the nation forward. Formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is governed by a nine member board of directors appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Anthony R. Coscia is board chairman and Jeffrey R. Moreland is vice chairman. In FY 2014, nearly 31 million passengers traveled on Amtrak on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Enjoy the journey® at Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter (@Amtrak) and check out our blog at blog.amtrak.com.
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is a division of the Maryland Department of Transportation, and one of the largest multi-modal transit systems in the United States. MTA operates Local and Commuter Buses, Light Rail, Metro Subway, Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) Train Service, and a comprehensive Paratransit (Mobility) system. MTA also manages the Taxi Access system, and directs funding and statewide assistance to Locally Operated Transit Systems (LOTS) in each of Maryland’s 23 counties, Baltimore City, Annapolis and Ocean City. Visit MTA’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mtamaryland or Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/mtamaryland for more sources of updated information.