Under a revised schedule, renovations to Amtrak’s landmark William H. Gray III 30th Street Station in Philadelphia are now expected to wrap up in 2027, not 2025 as originally announced, the passenger rail operator recently said. Design-build contractor Gilbane Building Co. plans to use a phased approach to allow the station to stay open during the $550-million project.
Enabling work began last year and construction started this month, including the closing of the south concourse until the summer of 2025.
At the time Amtrak finalized a lease and development agreement for the station in 2021, Amtrak announced construction would start in late 2022. However, an Amtrak spokesperson says the incorporation of the expansion of Amtrak’s corporate offices, plus “other market factors,” necessitated the schedule change.
The scope includes repairs and infrastructure enhancements throughout the historic eight-story, steel-framed building, which opened in 1933. It also includes improvements to passenger-facing areas such as adding dining and retail space and expanding an outdoor plaza, as well as modernizing operations facilities and renovating Amtrak’s corporate offices.
Plenary Infrastructure Philadelphia is Amtrak’s development partner for the project under a P3 agreement they signed in 2021. PIP is responsible for operating and maintaining the station through 2071.
The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the plan required a “Section 106” assessment under the National Historic Preservation Act, Gilbane says. Originally built by the Pennsylvania Railroad, Amtrak says Gray 30th Street is the third-busiest station in its system, with a ridership of more than 3 million passengers in 2022. The station also serves Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and NJ Transit passengers. Amtrak last renovated the station between 1988 and 1991.
The work will be done while the station remains operational. Shawn Carlin, senior vice president and Philadelphia business leader at Gilbane, said in a statement that Gilbane worked with its design partner, Skimore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), to develop a phased work plan focused on “minimizing disruptions to ongoing operations.” Gilbane also issued bid packages early to manage long lead-time items needed for the infrastructure improvements under the phased schedule, a spokesperson says.