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With family in New Hampshire and Upstate New York, I use Amtrak pretty frequently–17 segments in 2017 already. From my perspective, it’s easier than schlepping to LGA or JFK and more comfortable than the dollar busses. The worst part about Amtrak isn’t the trains, it’s New York Pennsylvania Station, hands down. For many years, it’s been the dark, cramped, and generally not pleasant first impression for hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, and Amtrak knows it. Additionally, the NY Penn Station restrooms leave a lot to be desired. They are dingy, inefficiently designed, and not always in 100% working order. When I’m there, I try to avoid using the bathroom at all costs–but that’s about to change!

(SEE ALSO: Amtrak NYC to Boston Review)

New Restroom Facilities

Now that Amtrak’s Infrastructure Renewal at New York Penn Station project is complete, they are turning their attention towards more “traveller visible” improvements. The first, and arguably one of the most important for changing people’s impressions of Penn Station is the renovation of the bathrooms in the main concourse. Renovations began on the women’s restroom in mid-October and the men’s restroom renovation will begin after that. Amtrak hopes to have the construction completed by Spring 2018.

Image courtesy of Amtrak.

According to Amtrak’s Mike DeCataldo, Vice President, Transportation:

“Amtrak is working to provide the best possible customer experience at New York Penn Station by enhancing our current amenities. The restroom upgrades reflect Amtrak’s commitment to provide our passengers with a high level of customer service and align perfectly with our efforts to upgrade our stations, across the country.”

Amtrak is definitely going above and beyond here. Rather than just update the old NY Penn Station restrooms, it seems like they are going for a total gut-job, incorporating “durable terrazzo floors, contemporary wall tiling, updated fixtures and energy efficient lighting. New solid surface sinks will incorporate automatic soap dispensers, faucets and hand dryers.”

Interim Solutions

While the renovations are ongoing, Amtrak will be installing temporary restrooms. These restrooms, it seems, will actually be outside the station, which isn’t ideal, but I suppose it’s better than no restrooms at all.

Amtrak has temporary restroom facilities located between West 31st and West 33rd Streets on the former taxiway that will also open on Monday, October 16. The temporary restrooms include sinks, indoor heating, and units fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The Amtrak Police Department will monitor the temporary restrooms. Amtrak passengers can access the temporary restrooms via the escalators and elevator on the Amtrak rotunda. Directional signs will be available at the station.

NY Penn Station restrooms conclusion

As a frequent user of Amtrak and Penn Station, it’s really great to see Amtrak investing in making the station a great first impression for the thousands of visitors NYC gets every year. Renovating the NYC Penn Station restrooms is a great first start, and if these images are anything to go by, I’m excited to see what Amtrak has planned for the rest of the station!

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