Grand Central Madison will not open in 2022, MTA says
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will miss its year-end deadline for Long Island Rail Road trains to begin stopping at Grand Central Terminal, the agency acknowledged Thursday afternoon.
The agency now says it hopes to begin service sometime in January in the new part of the terminal, known as Grand Central Madison, the culmination of the long-stalled East Side Access project.
In a prepared statement, MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer said, “As outlined at last week’s MTA Board meeting, the opening of Grand Central Madison and Long Island Rail Road GCM service is contingent upon the completion of testing of system. consistent with our commitment to safety. A particular area in the 700,000 square foot terminal requires additional work that will take more than a few days.”
The statement added: “Given the logistics of completing the test and launch service, we have advised MTA Chairman Janno Lieber that the terminal will not open this week. We will coordinate with the Federal Railroad Administration to open the Terminal re and start LIRR service as soon as possible in January.”
Lieber had repeatedly promised to open before the end of December.
The project, which cost $11.1 billion and broke ground in 1998 with construction beginning in 2001, is expected to lead to about a 50% increase in LIRR rush-hour service — but also a “significant” reduction in service of the morning LIRR at Penn Station. the agency said.
The MTA has said the public will receive notice at least three weeks before the full-scale launch of Grand Central Madison, whose debut will mean a major adjustment to train schedules for all passengers.
Earlier this month, the MTA announced plans to begin limited LIRR shuttle service between Jamaica Terminal and Grand Central Madison sometime this month, ahead of the full opening. Shuttle trains would operate mainly during off-peak hours.
As of Thursday evening, the MTA’s website still listed December 2022 as the project’s “Completion” date, or when “LIRR service at Grand Central Madison will open to the public.”
In the spring, Gov. Kathy Hochul, who oversees the MTA, said the expected opening of the station in December would give Long Island commuters “a world-class experience that is long overdue” and also “the gift of time” by cut up to 40 minutes off the daily commute of commuters working on Manhattan’s East Side. She said: “I can’t wait to take the first ride.”
Matthew Chayes, a Newsday reporter since 2007, covers New York City Hall.