MIDTOWN EAST, Manhattan (WABC) — The wait is over for many commuters as the LIRR finally begins service at Central Terminal on Wednesday.
Gov. Kathy Hachul was among the first passengers on the train to stop at Madison Grand Central at 11:07 a.m. when the East Side Access train began operating.
“Grand Central Madison has been a game-changer for New Yorkers, and I look forward to welcoming Long Island passengers to our massive new terminal,” said Hachul. “Infrastructure is connections, and this project is a tremendous step forward to improve the connection of millions of New Yorkers to their homes, families and jobs.”
The new service offers a 20-minute direct service between Jamaica Station and the brand new Grand Central Madison Station.
At the moment, the Jamaica route is the only one, but there are plans to fully expand the services soon.
Grand Central Madison Station itself is built 17 stories below street level. This means it will take you a few minutes to get there.
From the street, most riders go down one escalator, then down the stairs through the corridors and into the hall. Riders will then go down the longest escalator in New York.
Eyewitness News New Jersey reporter Burkett found the top-to-bottom transition takes one minute and 38 seconds. From there, go down another set of stairs to the platforms.
If you want to try out a new station, the MTA will honor tickets to Penn Station on Wednesday at Grand Central.
“So it’s a few weeks of what we’re calling a soft opening. We invite the public to come and look at it. See if it’s more convenient for you. For a lot of people, it will be,” MTA Chairman Jana Lieber said.
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.
Trains run every 30 minutes in both directions on weekdays and weekends, and hourly during peak periods – arriving at Grand Central between 6.30am and 10am and departing between 4.30pm and 7am. :30 pm
The $12 billion project has been 15 years in the making, but Grand Central Madison’s service has been delayed due to testing delay.
Grand Central Madison is the first major new downtown rail terminal in the United States in 67 years and the first expansion of the LIRR in 112 years since Penn Station began service on September 8, 1910.
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