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November 1, 2021

MTA runs LIRR test train to Grand Central Terminal

The new connection will increase the LIRR's capacity by 50% in Manhattan with up to 24 trains per hour.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in the US state of New York has operated a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) test train to Grand Central Terminal and unveiled the first looks of the new 350,000f² East Side Access passenger terminal.

This terminal is said to be the biggest new train terminal to be constructed in the country since the 1950s.

The new commuter rail route, along with the LIRR third track project, will increase the LIRR’s capacity by half in Manhattan with up to 24 trains running in an hour.

It will also cut down crowding at Penn Station and onboard subways and trains.

The new connection and concourse are expected to become operational in December next year.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who joined MTA in the testing of the route, said: “The East Side Access concourse is a model for modern transportation systems as we look to the post-pandemic future.

“As the first modern train terminal to be built in more than a half-century, the East Side Access concourse will expand rail service, cut down on travel times into East Manhattan from Queens and Long Island, and reduce crowding.”

The East Side Access concourse at Grand Central Terminal will have a 350,000ft² LIRR passenger concourse underneath the level of the street.

It will feature new entrances along Madison Avenue, retail stores, WiFi and cell service, digital signage as well as new art installations.

In addition, it will include 17 escalators to help passengers move between the new concourse and the train terminal’s mezzanine situated 140ft below Park Avenue.

This mezzanine will connect to upper and lower train levels, both having two platforms and four tracks each.

The trains will reach the concourse through a newly activated tunnel, having two tracks as it moves below the East River at 63rd Street.

In addition, the MTA’s crew has constructed a new yard to accommodate up to 300 rail cars in Queens, along with a fully modernised railway intersection Harold Interlocking.

In total, the project covers more than 64.37km of new track, around 20.9km of newly excavated tunnels, 975 security cameras, 15 overhead gantries, and 14 huts containing signal system machinery.

In September, MTA finished the deployment of security cameras at all 472 subway stations.

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