New LIRR Grand Central Terminal to Open Later This Year
The 700,000-square-foot Long Island Rail Road terminal nearing completion below Grand Central Terminal and Madison Avenue from 43rd Street to 48th Street will be named Grand Central Madison. The new name Grand Central Madison harkens to the station’s location nestled underneath Grand Central Terminal and Madison Avenue. LIRR train service to the new terminal, representing the largest expansion of LIRR service in the 112 years since the original Pennsylvania Station and its East River Tunnels opened on September 8, 1910, remains on pace to begin before the end of the year.
The new terminal is the largest passenger rail terminal to be built in the United States since the 1950s, and the $11.1 billion infrastructure project to connect the Long Island Rail Road to the East Side will provide incalculable benefits for the entire downstate region and its visitors, enhancing seamless regional travel not just during rush hours but for reverse-peak, discretionary and off-peak travel in a post-pandemic environment.
The opening of Grand Central Madison, along with a new third track on the LIRR Main Line that is on schedule to open in 2022, will allow the LIRR to increase service systemwide by almost 41% on morning peak service, and dramatically increase reverse peak service. It will be the LIRR’s first entry point into Manhattan that isn’t shared with other railroads, meaning greater reliability because of less exposure to service disruptions, and more flexibility for trains and riders to work around any that do occur. The railroad’s new proposed timetables include an extra 274 weekday trains, among them an extra 44 morning rush trains to Manhattan.
Grand Central Madison will reduce passenger congestion at Penn Station, affording the chance for trains from Metro-North Railroad to enter later this decade. The new terminal will move some LIRR trains to the East Side, reducing congestion at Penn Station and allow for a complete reconstruction to open it up to natural light and build a more expansive unified passenger concourse with intuitive wayfinding, better access to train departure information, exits, entrances, and paths to tracks.
The new terminal will have eight tracks and four platforms on two new levels below the existing lower level of Grand Central Terminal, all designed with passive wayfinding to help orient returning users through subtle color shifts by location. All tracks and platforms are fully separated from Metro-North Railroad, ensuring that neither railroad causes delays to the other.
The terminal will feature real-time digital signage, robust cell service and Wi-Fi, 25 retail storefronts, four new entrances to the street level along Madison Avenue between 43rd Street and 48th Street and two new entrances into the existing spaces of Grand Central and two to Grand Central’s north end passageways at 45th and 47th Streets.