MIDTOWN EAST, Manhattan (WABC) — The MTA announced that the Long Island Rail Road will begin service to Grand Central on Wednesday.
The service, known as “Grand Central Direct,” will run between Jamaica Station and the new Grand Central Madison Station in midtown Manhattan.
The new tracks and platforms are sufficient for a capacity of up to 24 trains per hour.
Trains will run from 6:15 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on weekends.
The new terminal was not built next to Grand Central, but underneath it, about 17 stories below the street. It is so deep that it takes at least four and a half minutes to reach the trains.
From the street, most riders go down one escalator, then down the stairs through the corridors and into the hall. Passengers will then descend the longest escalator in New York City, which is so long and so steep that it takes one minute and 38 seconds to go from top to bottom. From there, go down another set of stairs to the platforms.
The $12 billion project has been 15 years in the making, but Grand Central Madison’s service has been delayed due to testing delays.
For the first few weeks, trains to and from Grand Central Madison will run as an express shuttle between Manhattan and Jamaica before running direct to and from points east.
“So it’s a few weeks of what we call a soft opening,” said MTA Chairman Jana Liebers. “We invite the public to come look at it. See if it’s more convenient for you. It will be for a lot of people.”
The direct connection to Central Terminal is expected to cut LIRR commuter travel times by 40 minutes per day.
“Getting them to the East Side, in terms of proximity, should be a lot more efficient,” one commuter said.
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