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It's Last Call for Penn Station's Amtrak Departures Board

By Nicole Levy | October 11, 2016 5:30pm
 The Amtrak departures board at Penn Station.
The Amtrak departures board at Penn Station.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Hedlund

This departures board is leaving the station.

Amtrak is in the process of replacing its giant black-and-white departures board in Penn Station's main hall with several smaller LCD screens spread throughout the terminal, the railroad operator announced in a press release Tuesday

News of the board's impending demise first circulated in August, when freelance reporter Jason Rabinowitz tweeted out a picture of a few replacement screens.

Connecting the board to its clicking, analog predecessor, some commuters expressed nostalgia for an apparatus that had held their schedules captive since its installation in 2000. (The current board, made of segmented LCD glass, is in less than tip-top condition, with light-up letters dull and blurred in some areas.)

“It is a piece of Penn Station,” a software salesman waiting for an Amtrak train to Boston told the New York Times in August. “You expect to see this when you walk into the station.”

Amtrak says its new "state-of-the-art Passenger Information Display System" will alleviate congestion in the center of the terminal's main hall by drawing commuters to large video walls on at either end and other screens already installed in waiting rooms. 

As NBC New York first reported, the new displays will also be able to broadcast emergency notifications, station announcement and other audio messages.

The new messaging system is only one of the improvements coming to New York's busiest transit hub, slated for a $1.6 billion revamp.