Amtrak and the Maryland Transit Administration have invested $1.2 million in a new backup generator system at Baltimore Penn Station to ensure station readiness and reliability as well as maintain continuity of critical station operations during extended utility outages.
The new generator is capable of providing emergency backup power to maintain critical station services in the event of a power failure.
The reliable supply of power is essential to Baltimore, which is the eighth busiest station in Amtrak’s national network, serving approximately three million passengers in fiscal year 2015. In addition to Amtrak passengers, the station serves commuter operations for MARC Penn Line, the city’s light rail, buses and university shuttles.
“Baltimore Penn Station is an integral part of the Northeast Corridor transportation network and these upgrades will support system reliability in the station well into the future,” said Rina Cutler, Amtrak’s senior director of Infrastructure and Investment Development. “The support systems may be invisible much of the time, but behind the scenes, the generator ensures uninterrupted service to critical utilities like the fire alarm systems and computer information display systems to provide a seamless station experience for all passengers.”
In addition, Amtrak will roll out new technological advancements this year. Baltimore Penn was selected as one of two stations in the country for a pilot upgrade of the station’s wireless network. Amtrak will provide faster, more reliable Wi-Fi in the station as well as the platform to ensure passengers stay connected while traveling.
Near-term improvements to the passenger experience as well as structural rehabilitation of Baltimore Penn Station remain a focus. Over the past five years, Amtrak, the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore and other partners invested more than $19 million in improvements to the station and its vicinity.
To plan for the station’s long-term future, Amtrak is seeking a public-private Master Developer partnership for a comprehensive redevelopment of Baltimore Penn Station and adjacent property which would transform the station into a mixed-use, transit-oriented hub for regional transportation and economic growth. Amtrak anticipates releasing a Master Development Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to the market in fall 2016.