New concourse opens at Penn Station

- Many train commuters are accustomed to old tracks, old cars, and an old Penn Station. But now commuters have a new way to get to the Long Island Rail Road tracks without having to navigate through chaos.

Think of it as the West Wing. Not of the White House, but of the train terminal many commuters would prefer to avoid if only they could. A new ramp is now open that allows access directly to the LIRR tracks through entrances on 8th Avenue, steps from the A/C/E subway station.

In a show of bi-partisan support, Republican Rep. Peter King took a tour with Sen. Charles Schumer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, both Democrats. The spotless West Concourse connects to 17 of 21 tracks. The improvement comes as LIRR commuters are facing fewer train choices and service cutbacks.

The next phase of the $1.6 billion project will be the transformation of the Farley Post Office Building above into a great train hall. The complex is expected to replace Penn Station in about two and a half years. It will be renamed Moynihan Station, in honor of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who initiated the project.

Both Cuomo and Schumer stressed the importance of help from the federal government and emphasized the urgent need for the Gateway Program train tunnel to be built between New Jersey and New York sooner rather than later.

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