Newark Penn Station on track for a $190 million makeover

Newark Penn Station. File photo.

N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Tuesday that $190 million will be spent on renovations and upgrades at Newark Penn Station, a major transit hub that serves NJ Transit, Amtrak, Newark Light Rail, and PATH passengers, as well as various bus companies.

About $30 million in work on upgrades at the station will begin immediately, Murphy said. The other $160 million in renovations will be phased in over a five-year period.

The projects will be funded by the state.

“Penn Station is a vital hub not just for those heading to New York City each day, but it is also a gateway to Newark and the resurgence that has taken place here over the past two decades,” Murphy said. “We are thrilled to announce these renovations, which, when completed, will help restore this historic station to its former glory.” 

The first phase of renovations will focus on aesthetics, including the restoration of the benches in the waiting room, the installation of brighter lighting, updated bathrooms, improved HVAC systems, painting the station and replacing tile, and deep cleaning the limestone exterior of the station. Bus lanes will get new lighting and improved drainage. Officials said improved directional and way-finding signage will help commuters navigate the station’s labyrinth of platforms and hallways. 

Longer-term station enhancements will focus on improving the station’s openness, light, and overall visitor experience, officials said. A future goal is to make Newark Penn Station more of a destination, with added dining and shopping in the concourse.  

“Newark Penn Station is one of our region’s busiest and most vital transportation hubs serving NJ Transit rail, bus, and light rail customers, as well as Amtrak and PATH,” said NJDOT Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “It deserves this significant investment to see its grandeur restored, and at the same time we’ll be improving the overall customer experience at the station.”   

NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett said he was grateful for the state funding for the projects. “This additional funding will allow us to perform the necessary work that will improve the travel experience for the thousands of customers who travel through Newark Penn Station every day,” he said.  

Newark Penn Station is the seventh busiest rail station in North America and one of the busiest stations in the region. Opened in 1935, the station is listed on both the state and national registers of historic places. The station was originally designed as a facility serving pedestrian, taxi, bus, and private vehicle traffic. More than 50,000 people use the station every day.