Westchester County Government Requests Expanded Service to Penn Station

Interior of Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station
Interior of Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station

Westchester County Requests Expanded Service to Penn Station

Living in Westchester, it’s incredible to have access to New York City while also being so close to nature. However, traveling to the city can be a bit of pain where you have to figure out if you are going to take a train, deal with parking, or some sort of combination depending on what part of the city you are venturing to.

Currently, the Metro North train lines (the Harlem, Hudson, and the New Haven lines) all only go directly into Grand Central Station with access to the East Side of Manhattan. However, this can be difficult for those who have to be in the West Side where those commuters have additional trains to take and expanded travel times.

During a recent press conference at the Yonkers Public Library, Westchester County Executive George Latimer discussed that he shared a letter to Janno Lieber of the MTA asking for a detailed study of the Hudson Line from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central. Additionally, this study would open up that line (for accessibility) to Penn Station.

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and Yonkers City Council President Lakisha Collins-Bellamy were also in attendance expressing support of this expansion.

Benefits of Expanded Service to Penn Station

Not only offering another way to get to NYC, this expanded line could ease congestion, promote more tourism, and make it easier for Westchester residents to get to work. Additionally, it would access to NYC for Westchester residents, shorten commuter travel times, and make transit equitable.

Latimer noted that there is an opportunity with open track space (at Penn Station). He added, “The advantages of such a connection are abundant. Improved transportation links would not only further ease congestion but also foster economic growth, enhance accessibility to job opportunities, and contribute to the overall quality of life for residents in Westchester County, the Bronx and beyond.”

Benefits of Expanded Service for Yonkers

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano noted that 23,000 people ride the Metro North every day and 69,000 a month. Access to Penn would allow sustainability and Yonkers residents to expand their opportunities to work in Manhattan. He noted, “this will benefit the city, Westchester, and beyond.”

For Yonkers, this can help with congestion pricing and receive better opportunities. Additionally, there is a reverse commute happening in Yonkers with the opening of Lion’s Gate (and other companies). This expanded service could also benefit Manhattan residents who are traveling to Westchester.

What is the Current Penn Station Access?

In 2022, the MTA created an extension of Metro-North Railroad‘s New Haven Line. This now reaches Penn Station with four new accessible stations. This includes stations at Hunts Point, Morris Park, Co-op City, and Parkchester/Van Nest. This is estimated to be completed by 2027.

Additionally, the MTA recently opened up East Side access to Long Island travelers. They can get off the train on the East Side or Penn Station on the West Side. He added, “Westchester wants that same opportunity from the Northern train lines.”

What Would the Expanded Service to Penn Station Look Like?

According to the MTA, “the Hudson Line’s ridership rose 56.7% from 2021 with approximately 3.6 million more rides. The total annual East of Hudson (Harlem Line, Hudson Line, and New Haven Line) ridership was approximately 48 million, approximately 17.9 million more rides than the 30.1 million for 2021.” This increased ridership shows an interest for expanded use of MTA trains.

This expanded line would potentially include a parallel initiative (similar to the Metro North’s New Haven line) on the Hudson River side of Metro North.

Yonkers City Council President Lakisha Collins-Bellamy noted, “The Hudson Line is a vital resource for commuters. An expansion through Penn Station will undoubtedly increase its utility. The West Side Access project presents regional economic growth possibilities. Increased ridership on the Hudson Line can generate employment opportunities beyond Yonkers. Businesses in nearby towns and cities seek additional employees to meet the growing demand.”

What is the Step Next for the Potential Penn Station Plan?

The study will also show the capital costs are and the operating costs. As seen (from the New Haven side), this might also involve upgrading bridges, new stations, and more.

Latimer noted, “I am confident that the leadership and expertise of the MTA can bring this vision to fruition. The benefits of improved transportation infrastructure are equitably distributed throughout the region.”

Additionally, this Penn Station expansion could also benefit people from Dutchess County, Putnam County, and travelers from The Bronx. Overall, the potential would certainly benefit Westchester residents making it even easier to connect to the city we love.