That’s right, Long Island Railroad (LIRR) is now calling at Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. Thus, for thousands of commuters from Queens and eventually, Nassau and Suffolk counties, as opposed to being subjected to one of Dante’s Circles of Hell — better known as Penn Station — they’ll now be getting a superficial upgrade:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which oversees the Long Island Railroad, as well as New York City’s subway system, the Staten Island rail, city buses, and another commuter rail company called Metro-North, highlights the following benefits to this new service, terminating at what is now called Grand Central Madison, the new area built just below the historic Grand Central Terminal:
- All 11 LIRR lines will now have direct trains to Grand Central Terminal, the second busiest train station in the country (1st is Manhattan’s Penn Station)
- An extra 350,000 square feet of space has been allotted for waiting areas, shopping, dining, milling about, staring at your phones, and free Wi-Fi
- When all is said and done, train capacity to Manhattan will have increased by 50%, owing to two new train tunnels beneath the Hudson River
- >~160,000 commuters will shave minutes off of their trips, with some commutes getting reduced by as much as 40 minutes
Having been in Manhattan for an event, I went over to see what was going on:
For now, the primary train service at Grand Central Madison will be the Grand Central Direct, which stops at, Woodside, Queens, Forest Hills, Queens, and finally Jamaica, Queens (where you will be able to connect to the underwhelming AirTrain to JFK Airport, as well as other LIRR trains).
The hours of operation are: 06:15 to 20:30 on weekdays, and 06:45 to 00:00 on weekends.
Once the full onslaught of LIRR — whenever that will be — is decided, the new Grand Central Madison will only be closed daily from 02:00 to 05:30, during which LIRR trains will head to that den of depravity, Penn Station.
This is the first major shake-up to the Long Island Railroad since the original Penn Station opened to the public on 27 November, 1910. Estimates for the total cost of the project + improvements on tracks on Long Island are said to have been around $16 billion.
I wish there would be a deal between the MTA and the AirTrain to have discounted tickets to encourage JFK-bound ridership, so I will just settle for two fare hikes by 2025 instead. /s
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