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East Side Access Terminal Gets New Name ‘Grand Central Madison’



A New York project in the works for decades officially has a brand new name. 

“I’m proud to announce this new terminal is called Grand Central Madison,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday.

News 4 New York was granted an exclusive look inside the East Side Access project terminal that will allow LIRR riders to have shorter commutes back in April — at that time, the name change to Grand Central Madison was just a possibility.

Sitting hundreds of feet below Grand Central, the East Side Access terminal aims to bring 60 percent more traffic into Manhattan from Long Island at peak times, with the added bonus of cutting down on congestion at Penn Station at rush hour. It is slated to open sometime in late 2022.

“The physical structure is mostly done,” MTA Chairman Janno Lieber told News 4 at the time, adding that the end is in sight.


Teams are currently polishing the columns, testing the fire alarms, and booting up the control room in the one of the biggest infrastructure projects ever — a project with an $11 billion price tag.

The hefty expense is worth it, according to Lieber.

“The value of that wasted time alone is in the many, many millions,” he said at the time.

The construction is one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects undertaken in the United States in recent years, according to the MTA. It is the largest new train terminal to be built in the United States since the 1950s and the first expansion of the LIRR in more than 100 years.

It will provide new, direct LIRR service into a new concourse below Grand Central Terminal on Manhattan’s East Side. The project encompasses work in multiple locations throughout Manhattan and Queens, and includes more than eight miles of tunneling. It will bring all 11 branches of the LIRR through a new East River tunnel with a final destination below the current Grand Central. This new route will save commuters headed to the East Side precious time.

“My commute used to be two hours this will shorten it by a half hour – gives me a full hour free,” Eileen Burkhardt, an LIRR commuter, previously told News 4.

On Tuesday, the MTA not only showed off some merchandise with the project’s new name, but more relevant to riders — they’re about to unveil new schedules. 


All this even though ridership is only 2/3 of its pre pandemic level.

Grand Central Madison allows for a 40 percent increase to LIRR capacity, with the morning rush going from 113 trains to 158, and the afternoon rush going from 98 trains to 158. The railroad president says details coming soon. 

“This is the First time in 30 years we are taking a fresh look at its schedules,” LIRR President Cathy Rinaldi said.

The project is a component of the broader LIRR system expansion to help reduce passenger crowding, train congestion and car traffic, and to provide connections with regional transportation such as Metro North Railroad and New York City Transit subways. East Side Access will also reduce train and passenger congestion at New York Penn Station and neighboring subway stations.

The project will allow for the amount of LIRR trains into Manhattan to double with up to 24 trains per hour, while reducing the commute time by 40 minutes, according to Cuomo. He said that commuters will now have two stations to go into.

The new project will also for people to get to JFK from Grand Central in 40 minutes.

The Manhattan concourse includes a 350,000-square-foot LIRR passenger concourse just below street level in the Grand Central area that will offer new entrances along Madison Avenue, 25 retail storefronts, WiFi and cell service, new art installations and digital signage with real time train information. The entrance in 347 Madison Avenue being built at 45th Street as part of the redevelopment of the MTA’s former headquarters alone is expected to serve 10,000 people a day. 


Major construction of the East Side Access project is complete — with the grand opening taking place at some point this year.

When completed, East Side Access — which has been in the works for years and is on schedule — will serve approximately 162,000 customers a day, according to the MTA.

“When I came to the MTA in 2018 one of my first actions was to do an in-depth review of East Side Access,” Janno Lieber, President of MTA Construction & Development, previously said. “We doubled down on this project – expressing faith in its fundamentals but overhauling the way we were pursuing it. In the past, when challenges were encountered, the answer was to push back the project completion date. We put an end to that and committed this project would be completed in 2022 as had been promised.”

Source: NBC New York


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