At long last, Metro-North riders may soon have access to Penn Station from Westchester, as the MTA moves forward with a new deal with Amtrak.
This week, MTA officials announced the new deal with Amtrak, which will call for new Metro-North stops in Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester/ Van Nest and Hunts Point, bringing those commuters, and those from the New Rochelle station, to Penn Station in Manhattan.
Without hitting any hurdles, the new Bronx stations are expected to be open no later than 2023.
"We are pleased to have reached a preliminary agreement that will allow for MTA to advance for design and construction of improvements on Amtrak's Hell Gate Line, for the eventual operation of new Metro-North commuter rail service into Penn Station and construction of four new stations along the line,” Amtrak Senior Executive Vice President Stephen Gardner said in a statement.
Hudson Valley Congresswoman Nita Lowey said that, “(this) announcement marks an important step forward for the Penn Station Access Project, which will provide much-needed relief for my constituents and other Westchester commuters who depend on reliable, efficient transit – the cornerstone of our regional economy.”
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson called the proposal “a potential game changer.”
“Penn Access is vital to the economy, environment, and even security of our region,” he said. “It will help foster job growth and transit-oriented development throughout the Bronx and Westchester, while also reducing travel times for commuters and providing New Yorkers with a more resilient transportation system in the event of emergencies.
“For New Rochelle, it is a potential game-changer, giving us the closest station to Manhattan with direct access to the east and west sides.”
Moving forward, officials will conduct a study to determine “the feasibility of Amtrak running several trains daily from Long Island to Penn Station and continuing either north to Boston or south to Washington.”
The agreement comes as part of the MTA’s “Penn Station Access” plan, which seeks to use Amtrak tracks in the Bronx to allow Metro-North access to Penn Station. The new service will seek to bring Metro-North trains over the Hell Gates Bridge into Queens where the lines will merge with the LIRR, through the East River Tunnels, into Manhattan and ultimately Penn Station.
“Opening up easy rail access between Westchester County and Manhattan’s West Side will be a game changer for economic and community development in the county,” Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester said. “New opportunities for commuting provide mobility and accessibility for businesses, and increased access opens up new routes for talent to access Westchester’s growing businesses.
“In addition, this new West Side access will make the new multi-residential communities being built in our urban centers even more attractive for those who want to live in Westchester County and still have access to all areas New York City. This is tremendous news for commuters, businesses and residents of Westchester County.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.