We can't believe that the extension of the Long Island Rail Road line service to the east side of Manhattan is a project that is actually coming to fruition but, alas, as Governor Kathy Hochul just reported, the new 700,000-square-foot terminal below Grand Central Terminal and Madison Avenue is on track to open later this year.
What's more, the politician annouced that the new destination will officially be named Grand Central Madison, a moniker that obviously honors the station's location.
Later this week, the LIRR will also release draft timetables so that prospective riders can start thinking about potentially using the new service. Four virtual customer information sessions about the new proposed timetables will also be held throughout the months of June and July. See the exact dates and times for those right here.
This is all very big news as the project represents the largest expansion of LIRR service in the 112 years since the original Pennsylvania Station, now also under much-needed construction, and its East River tunnels opened back on September 8, 1910.
"This is an exciting, historic moment for New York State, Long Island and the MTA as New Yorkers are just months away from being able to seamlessly ride a train between East Midtown and Long Island," Governor Hochul said in an official statement. "Grand Central Madison—the largest new passenger rail terminal built since the 1950s—will be a game-changer for Long Island, allowing the LIRR to dramatically expand service and operate more reliably for commuters, and reducing overcrowding at Penn Station. We will continue to build back stronger from the pandemic and deliver state-of-the-art, 21st century infrastructure worthy of New Yorkers."
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.
Overall, expect the new terminal to be home to eight tracks and four platforms throughout two levels, plus 25 new retail storefronts, Wi-Fi and cell service, real-time digital signage and six new entrances. It should come as no surprise, then, that the massive infrastructure project is costing the city $11.1 billion.
"Grand Central Madison will be a huge boom for the East Side in addition to alleviating congestion at Penn Station," said Manhattan borough president Mark Levine. "Improving transit into Manhattan will help drive local economic recovery, especially for a business corridor that has been so battered by the pandemic. This terminal and the increased service also incentivize less car travel to Manhattan, which is a win for the environment and quality of life."
Needless to say, we absolutely can't wait for the new station to open.