Finally, after more than 50 years from first concept, and multiple delays from project completion, Grand Central Madison LIRR terminal will open today. The inaugural train, carrying Governor Kathy Hochul among other dignitaries, will leave Jamaica Station in Queens and travel for 22 minutes to Grand Central Madison, arriving at around 11 a.m.
The MTA had hoped to open the station last month, but an issue with ventilation fans caused a delay. The fans were fixed this week.
Prior to the grand opening, “Mornings On 1” anchor Pat Kiernan met with MTA Chair Janno Lieber at the station for a sneak peek at the sprawling station.
During the tour, Lieber said the new station is going to be a “transformational moment for Long Island Rail Road users.”
He also explained just how the project was able to be completed without disrupting the bustling city above.
“One of the reasons why people don’t know about this amazing project is we brought in all the people, all the equipment, all the materials all the way through the tunnels from Queens,” Lieber said. “So it cost a lot, there’s no question, but doing it that way avoided disrupting Midtown, the center of our economy.”
For the first three weeks, the only LIRR trains in and out of Grand Central will be a shuttle service between there and Jamaica, the MTA said.
The Grand Central Direct line will run once every hour during peak travel times on weekdays — arriving at the station between 6:30 and 10 a.m., and departing between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. — and once every 30 minutes otherwise. For those who think this is backward, the MTA explained that they have more staff to operate the shuttle during off-peak hours.
The trains will be available between 6:15 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends, officials said.
The MTA did not say when a full train schedule of service from Long Island to Grand Central will begin, but boasted LIRR service will increase by 41% when the lines are fully operational.