Amtrak and Penn Station Partners announced a ceremony with Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Deputy Administrator Amit Bose, Governor Larry Hogan, Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Chris Van Hollen, Congressman Kweisi Mfume, Mayor Brandon Scott, and other local officials and community members to mark the commencement of the redevelopment of Baltimore Penn Station and platform expansion project as part of Amtrak’s $150 million investment to improve customer experience and grow passenger rail.
“Today we begin a new chapter for Baltimore Penn Station. In partnership with Penn Station Partners, we are set to transform Penn Station into a premier regional transportation hub,” said Bill Flynn, Amtrak CEO. “This construction will serve as the catalyst to transform surrounding vacant land already owned by Amtrak into a mixed-use, transit-oriented development with up to one million square feet of new office, retail and residential space.”
The last major renovation of Penn Station was completed in 1984 as part of the Northeast Corridor Improvement Project. Penn Station serves as the primary transportation hub in Baltimore, and prior to the pandemic, more than three million Amtrak and MARC passengers moved through the facility each year.
The Baltimore Penn Station redevelopment project is designed to expand and modernize the landmark to better accommodate passenger growth, significantly improve the customer experience, and to create a civic space in the community.
"The redevelopment and revitalization of Baltimore's Penn Station and the surrounding district is critical to the economic health of the City," said Bill Struever, CEO of Cross Street Partners. "We are fully committed to realizing the potential of this station as a true anchor for the growth of the local community and the City of Baltimore, and we are immensely grateful for the support of Amtrak as we continue laying the groundwork for this important project.”
Planning and development began in 2018 after the Baltimore-based developer, Penn Station Partners, led by Beatty Development Group and Cross Street Partners, was announced as the selected Baltimore Penn Station Master Developer.
In addition to station improvements delivered by Penn Station Partners, Amtrak is also making platform improvements at the station to better accommodate Amtrak’s new Acela high-speed rail trains that are set to launch next year. Amtrak is also working to increase track capacity, improve ride quality, and offer greater reliability both locally and along the entire Northeast Corridor.
Amtrak said it is rebuilding a low-level platform into an ADA compliant high-level platform and constructing a new platform. This work, along with a renewed overhead electrical system and an upgraded 30-mile stretch of track between Baltimore and Washington Union Station, will enable operation at higher speeds.
Once fully completed, these upgrades will improve on-time performance for high-speed train operations by providing route flexibility and allowing unimpeded travel.
“We applaud Amtrak and Penn Station Partners on commencing this transformational station rehabilitation,” said Amit Bose, FRA deputy administrator. “This project is the embodiment of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. Baltimore residents, businesses, as well as those traveling on MARC and Amtrak will all benefit from a modern and fully accessible facility.”