Governor Hochul Marks Eastern Access Milestone with LIRR Test Drive at Grand Central
Governor Kathy Hochul today joined the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to take a special test train from Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to Grand Central Terminal and gave the public one of the very first looks at the new 350,000 square foot east side. Access to the passenger terminal there. It is the largest new rail terminal built in the United States since the 1950s and the first extension of the LIRR in over 100 years. With the LIRR Third Track Project, the new connection will increase LIRR capacity to Manhattan by 50% with up to 24 trains per hour and reduce travel time for commuters from Queens and Long Island to the east side. 40 minutes a day. It will also reduce congestion on commuter trains, at Penn Station and on the subway by dispersing commuters and allowing passengers to travel directly to Grand Central Terminal from destinations across Queens and Long Island. The new suburban railway line and hall officially opened in December 2022.
“The East Side Access lobby is a model for modern transportation systems as we look to the post-pandemic future,” Governor Hochul said. “As the first modern rail terminal to be built in over half a century, the East Side Access concourse will expand rail service, reduce travel times to East Manhattan from Queens and Long Island, and reduce congestion. It’s yet another example of New York leading the way as we recover from the pandemic, and I look forward to the full opening of the East Side Access lobby and route in December 2022. ”
MTA Interim President and CEO Janno Lieber said: “The East Side Access project will provide faster direct service for commuters from Long Island and Queens to the East Side of Manhattan, the densest employment hub in North America. This smart transit-focused development will help stimulate economic growth, provide better connections to the North Railroad subway, and lead to reduced car traffic and improved air quality in the region. ”
LIRR President Phil Eng noted, “It is a perfect synergy that we have Governor Hochul here today as she leads the charge to improve and innovate New York’s future and the MTA is getting closer and closer to ushering in a new chapter in the history of LIRR. I am grateful for his leadership and proud of LIRR’s role in delivering the East Side Access Project by providing a new service to Grand Central Terminal for the whole of Long Island. In 2022, we will not only provide more options to our passengers on the East Side of Manhattan, but we will provide them with a state-of-the-art facility under the existing Grand Central Terminal. The LIRR continues to be a leader in reducing pollution and boosting the New York State economy by allowing people to get out of their cars and return to work in Long Island and New York. . ”
The East Side Access Lobby at Grand Central Terminal features a 350,000 square foot LIRR passenger lobby just below street level that will offer new entrances along Madison Avenue, 25 retail storefronts, one connection Wi-Fi and cell service, new art installations and digital signage with real-time train information. The entrance to 347 Madison Avenue under construction at 45th Street as part of the redevelopment of the former MTA headquarters alone is expected to serve 10,000 people per day.
Seventeen high-rise escalators, 182 feet long and the longest in the MTA system, will connect commuters between the new world-class concourse and the rail terminal mezzanine 140 feet below Park Avenue. The mezzanine in turn leads to an upper train level which has two platforms and four tracks, and a lower train level which also has two platforms and four tracks.
Trains will enter the concourse from a newly activated tunnel that carries two tracks as it passes under the East River at 63rd Street. The two tracks then unfold in four, then eight on the two levels.
In Queens, crews built a new yard that can accommodate up to 300 cars, and fully updated Harold Interlocking, the busiest passenger rail intersection in North America, including the installation of 97 new switches , 295 poles carrying new wire steel railroad bridges and 8,445 feet of retaining walls. Overall, the project includes over 40 miles of new track, nearly 13 miles of newly excavated tunnels, 44 ventilators, 550 miles of cables and 975 security cameras, 15 overhead gantries that display train control signals and 14 huts along the tracks containing signaling system components.
Originally conceived in the 1960s, the project was developed in the 1990s and work began in earnest in Queens and Manhattan in 2006. East Side Access contractors have accomplished several feats of engineering over the years. years, including blasting under Grand Central Terminal with limited impact on rail. mining under Northern Boulevard and elevated and underground subways in Queens and increasing the capacity of Harold Interlocking.
In addition to relieving congestion at Penn Station, East Side Access will improve New York’s competitive position in the global economy by providing a new link to East Side business centers and supporting job growth. around Grand Central Terminal. When the project is completed, operational efficiency thanks to Harold Interlocking will be greatly improved, which will benefit travelers along the northeast corridor. For the first time, ADDRD tracks will make reverse travel from New York to Long Island a realistic option for the region and allow East Midtown and Metro-North Railroad customers to connect to JFK Airport via the Long Island. Jamaica Rail Road and AirTrain.