NEW YORK (WABC) -- The $1.6 billion project replacing Manhattan's cramped and dark Penn Station with a light-filled train hall is set for completion this week, with the first trains rolling out on New Year's Day.
The new 255,000-square-foot station is named after U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat who championed the project and died in 2003. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat, announced on Sunday that the Moynihan Train Hall will be completed on time and on budget Thursday despite challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Cuomo and others toured the new facility Wednesday to preview its opening.
Work began in 2017 to transform the landmark Farley Post Office into a new station across the street from the old Penn Station. It will be used by Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak passengers.
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"This monumental accomplishment is a shot of hope as we come out of the one of the darkest periods in our history and sends a clear message to the world that while we suffered greatly as a result of this once-in-a-century health crisis, the pandemic did not stop us from dreaming big and building for the future," Cuomo said.
Improving Penn Station, the linchpin of the transportation network in New York and across the northeast, has long been considered one of the state's and the nation's most critical infrastructure priorities.
Amtrak released the following statement on Monday:
"Amtrak's Moynihan Train Hall will deliver the world-class rail travel experience our customers deserve when traveling to and from this incredible city," it read. "The beautiful vistas, modern design, new amenities and enhanced accessibility features showcase the kinds of improvements Amtrak is undertaking across our network. Amtrak dreamed up this plan 35 years ago and we deeply thank the Governor, Senator Schumer and the New York Congressional delegation, and all out partners for helping to make it a reality."
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The new facility integrates clear, consistent state-of-the art way-finding through dozens of LED and LCD displays for train information and messaging.
The upgraded commuter experience also features designated customer service locations for each railroad service operator and a dedicated lounge for nursing mothers.
A free public Wi-Fi network utilizing Wi-Fi 6 allows passengers throughout the entire train hall to seamlessly join conferences and meetings, view high-resolution movies, transfer large files and connect remotely.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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