The much-anticipated new LIRR station in midtown, officially dubbed Grand Central Madison, will soon open—and we've got the pictures to prove it.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) released a series of photos from the new 700,000-square-foot terminal following a tour of the space by officials that included Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.
The enormity of the project—the largest expansion of the LIRR service since the original Penn Station and the East River Tunnel debuted 112 years ago—can’t be overstated.
The opening of the terminal will, first and foremost, allow LIRR passengers direct access to the East Side of Manhattan—a huge deal in and of itself. Considering that, according to an official press release, 50% of riders currently travel to that area of town after arriving at Penn Station, congestion at the latter stop will obviously be significantly diluted as well.
Specifically, officials predict that the opening of Grand Central Madison coupled with the establishment of a third track on the LIRR’s main line will increase service by 40% during the mornings and also positively impact reverse peak time traffic.
In total, the new terminal will feature eight tracks and four platforms throughout two levels, in addition to 25 new retail storefronts, Wi-Fi and cell service, real-time digital signage and six new entrances. The cost of the whole endeavor, scheduled to debut by the end of this year, tops $11 billion, which should come as no surprise, and honestly, we’re here for it.
After all, the city's transportation infrastructure is in a state of disarray. Penn Station, for example, has been under much-needed construction for years now, with officials unveiling a pretty underwhelming new ceiling within the space just last week.
The subway is as dirty and unreliable as it always has been and, although New Yorkers are delighted by the news that cell service between all stations will be a reality, the MTA announced the project will take 10 years to complete. Silver lining: trains on the 2, 3, 4 and 5 lines are speeding up.
Will the opening of the new Grand Central Madison terminal portend a number of other significant changes within our outdated transit system? Probably not, but it's certainly heartwarming to think it might.