Logan CrawfordJul 17, 2017, 4:58 pmJul 17, 2017, 5:02 pm

Hope for Penn Station’s comeback lingers with historic highs, lows

The past, future of a transportation center that has existed for over a century

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Penn Station’s on track for restoration in the midst of a "commuter crisis" as Amtrak works to give commuters improved tracks.

For more than a century, Penn Station has been a gateway to Manhattan and was once hailed for its beauty.

Opening its doors to the public in 1910, Pennsylvania Station was named after its original owner and builder, The Pennsylvania Railroad.

Touted by many as an attractive piece of history, the original Penn Station stood several stories tall with glass windows letting light shine into a cathedral-like interior.

It was torn down in the 60s when it was sold by Pennsylvania Railroad as ridership decreased to make room for Madison Square Garden.

Many who pass through the current Penn Station say it's overcrowded, dark, and small.

"It’s too small for too many people and the station that was left here after the original was torn down was quite clearly an afterthought," said Matthew Caldecutt of Forest Hills.

Amtrak officials say ridership on their trains has increased over the years from more than 7.5 million passengers in 2006 to more than 10 million 2016.

With 21 tracks, Penn Station is the home of Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, and for more than 100 years, the Long Island Railroad.

LIRR rider Emily Mietner says she would like to see the hub have more places to wait, among other things.

"I would say more food places that can get people in and out quicker so you don't have to worry about missing your train," Mietner said.

After several derailments earlier this year, current Penn Station owner, Amtrak, decided now is the time to move ahead with infrastructure improvements.

Along with the three tracks that are closed during the summer repair work, the long-awaited Moynihan Project aims to restore Penn Station to its former glory.

The project will expand it to the Farley Post Office Building across the street, adding more concourses for the LIRR and Amtrak and giving commuters bigger and brighter waiting area with high glass ceilings and retail shops.

Phase one of the project finished last month with a brand new west concourse opening to passengers.

The rest of the nearly $2 billion project is expected to be finished by 2020.

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