Milestone Achieved: Amtrak’s Platform Five Unveiled at Baltimore Penn Station
Amtrak officials, alongside state and local leaders, celebrated a significant milestone in the ongoing $150 million redevelopment of Baltimore Penn Station with the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Platform Five. The completion of this new boarding platform is a crucial phase in Amtrak’s initiative to enhance customer service and accommodate the growing ridership at the eighth busiest Amtrak facility in the country.
Key Features of Platform Five:
- Strategic Location for High-Speed Trains: Platform Five, scheduled to begin service this spring, will serve as the boarding location for Amtrak’s high-speed Acela trains. This aligns with Amtrak’s broader plan to launch a new fleet of Acela trains later in the year.
- Operational Flexibility: The construction of Platform Five, which includes over 1,000 linear feet of pedestrian pathways and a two-story structure, provides operational flexibility at Penn Station. In situations where other high-speed train platforms are occupied, Platform Five ensures that passengers can board or disembark without delays.
While Platform Five marks a significant achievement, a second platform, named Platform Two, is expected to be completed in the fall of 2024. Both platforms will support Amtrak’s expansion of high-speed train service, especially with the introduction of the new Acela trains later this year.
Leadership and Community Support:
- Federal Funding Impact: The Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to investing federal funds in public infrastructure was emphasized by several speakers at the ceremony. Federal Railroad Administration Deputy Administrator Jennifer Mitchell highlighted the importance of the Federal Railroad Administration’s support in modernizing historic hubs like Baltimore Penn Station.
- Positive Reception from Local Leaders: U.S. Senator Ben Cardin praised the development, stating that it will significantly enhance passenger experience. U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen emphasized the tangible results of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to infrastructure.
- Baltimore Mayor’s Perspective: Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott expressed enthusiasm about the positive changes Platform Five and the broader Penn Station renovation will bring, contributing to the overall renaissance of Baltimore.
The completion of Platform Five is a pivotal moment in the comprehensive $150 Million redevelopment of Baltimore Penn Station. As construction progresses, the scaffolding surrounding the historic headhouse is set to come down by summer, signifying the completion of exterior restoration work. Various phases are still to be completed, including the restoration and modernization of the historic 1911 train station designed by architect Kenneth Murchison. Additionally, a new passenger terminal on the north side of the train tracks is underway, featuring a new main entrance and drop-off area on Saint Paul Street. With ongoing developments and the upcoming completion of Platform Two, Baltimore Penn Station is poised to meet the increasing demand for high-speed train services, providing a more modern and efficient experience for millions of passengers.