A grand archway, gold and silver decor, and polished antique booths immediately greet travelers walking into Newark Penn Station. More than 50,000 people use the station every day, making it the eighth busiest railway station in North America. The liveliness of the busy station creates an exciting experience for native New Jerseyans and passengers. However, having been a daily commuter on the Northeast Corridor, I know firsthand that the station could use some revamping. To ensure a satisfactory experience for travelers, the heavily used building must be updated regularly. In December of 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy granted $190 million in state funding for renovations to Newark Penn Station over the course of five years.
These renovations don’t take away the traditional aesthetic that has been a staple in Newark history for 86 years but are directed at little, yet extremely important, details such as escalators that actually work and the underground light rail lights that provide more than dim guidance through the dark hallways.
Proud to announce $190 million to renovate, restore, and improve Newark Penn Station, making the draw of historic Newark unmistakable and securing our state’s economic future.https://t.co/VCeInyz8AE pic.twitter.com/x2yNxhRfiu
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) December 8, 2020
Renovations Coming to Newark Penn Station
The first stage of renovation is currently underway, using $30 million from the total $190 million. The update maintains the long-established architecture status. Instead, it targets upgrades such as a refurbished waiting room, improved HVAC system, better lighting, and elevators. Travelers looking to grab a quick bite will be offered more dining options. The concourse plans to add new selections for shopping.
Considering the size of the station, the lack of guidance towards tracks and hallways often confuses travelers, so directional and signage will be improved to make navigating the sizable building easier.
The first phase also includes exterior renovations. Stronger lighting and drainage system updates will improve the bus lanes, and limestone walls will be treated with a full renovation. As a pandemic precaution, Newark Penn Station continues to close periodically for disinfecting. This includes nightly deep cleaning of the concourse from 11:00 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.
The official announcement from the state details a plan in which Newark Penn Station’s longer-term renovations “will focus on improving the station’s openness, light, and overall commuter and visitor experience.”As construction continues, more updates will be announced.
Despite these changes, the momentous station all New Jerseyans love will continue to be a center for passengers. The renovations at Newark Penn Station will only enhance the architecture and improve the station for both travelers and workers.