15 March 2023
The opening to the public on 25 January 2023 of the new Grand Central Madison station on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) network in New York marks the culmination of a major rail transformation project.

A rapid link between the eastern suburbs of New York and Manhattan in 40 minutes less than in the past has become a reality! This time saving was made possible by the entry into service, one year after a first test train, of the East Side Access project, a vast rail modernisation program and a new twin-tube tunnel designed to give LIRR trains access to the heart of Manhattan.

To achieve this, the new Grand Central Madison station was built underneath the iconic Grand Central Terminal to relieve Penn Station, previously the only terminus for LIRR trains in the Big Apple. This increases LIRR capacity by 50%, especially during peak hours, and provides passengers with a renovated and more reliable infrastructure and a direct interconnection with North Railroad surface trains at Grand Central Terminal and the New York Subway. Grand Central Madison will begin full service on 27 February.

Manhattan is getting a new station, something that hasn’t happened for a century, and SYSTRA is proud to be part of this transformation of everyday life for New Yorkers!

Joseph Bonsignore, Executive VP, SYSTRA USA

24 years of work for SYSTRA

SYSTRA contributed to the modernizsation of the LIRR network serving the new station with the East Side Access project back in 1999. We worked in a consortium with URS (now Aecom) as part of the engineering team appointed by Bechtel.

Our teams made a key contribution to the work at Harold’s signal box, the busiest rail interlocking in North America, by reviewing the design studies for the new modified track layout, signalling equipment and power supply from the surface line to the subway station. These upgrades benefit all trains travelling through the Northeast Corridor.

We also carried out the traffic analysis and systems integration, as well as the independent verification of the studies for the signalling and communications systems at in all phases of the project. Finally, we helped our consortium to integrate the requirements of Positive Train Control (PTC) throughout the project.

The first passengers discover the new underground spaces of Grand Central

Long Island and SYSTRA: a long-term relationship of trust

For several decades now, SYSTRA has been involved in projects undertaken by New York MTA on the Long Island Rail Road network between Manhattan and Brooklyn. These lines, which operate 24/7, are the busiest in North America, with over 300,000 passengers and 735 trains in operation every day. SYSTRA is working on a number of projects to support the gradual modernisation of these lines, such as the renovation of the Babylon signal box which was awarded in 2022.

Key points – Grand Central Madison

  • 8 platform tracks on 2 levels
  • 4 underground central platforms
  • 22 lifts and 47 escalators
  • (more than the entire LIRR system)
  • 140 ft. depth
  • Total surface area of 700,000 sq. ft.
  • 11,000m² (120,000 sq. ft.) for passenger areas
  • ​​​​​​​2,300m² (2,300 sq. ft.) for commercial spaces

Photo credit: Marc A. Hermann / MTA.

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