East Side Access Opening Day - Wednesday January 25th, 2023

Grand Central Madison Open for Business - Railway Age January 26, 2023 Contributing Editor, David Peter Alan

Originally planned for completion in 2009, the Long Island Rail Road’s East Side Access Project is finally finished and in service. On Jan. 25, 2023 revenue trains ran from the LIRR’s Jamaica station to a new terminal facility 14 stories beneath Madison Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. The new terminal is slightly northwest of Metro North’s historic Grand Central Terminal. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has named the new facility “Grand Central Madison.”

Photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA

Grand Central Madison stretches from 45th to 48th Streets, with a mezzanine-level walkway that connects to Grand Central Terminal. There are eight stub-end tracks: four over four and numbered 201-204 and 301-304, a sort of continuation of the numbering in the original GCT, where upper-level tracks bear two-digit numbers and lower-level tracks are numbered in the 100s.

For more than a century, LIRR riders have had West Side access to Penn Station, as well as service to Atlantic Terminal in downtown Brooklyn, which replaced a much-larger one roughly a half-century ago. Giving Long Islanders East Side access is not a new idea; a plan was developed in the 1950s and proposed in 1963. Construction began in 1969 on the 63rd Street Tunnel, a two-over-two tube that was built to house tracks for the subway on the upper level and for the LIRR on the lower. Construction was stalled when the city became caught up in a fiscal crisis in the mid-1970s. The tunnel was eventually completed after decades of delays, and the subway system’s F-Train began running on its upper level in 2001. Now, 22 years later, the lower level finally has LIRR revenue trains running in it. Non-revenue trains began running on January 11, 2023

Escalators to the LIRR track level platforms  -   Here's Track 301 and 302 Photos: Marc A. H Hermann/MTA

Concourse 48th Street

Grand Central Madison art work 1/26/2023
Photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA

Grand Central Madison art work 1/26/2023 Photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA

Grand Central Madison LIRR ticket office 1/26/2023 Photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA

The concourse of Grand Central Madison, deep below the historic train terminal, stretches from 48th Street to 43rd Street. To help commuters navigate this massive space, a color-coded system was devised to mark each cross-street. Each street from 48th to 45th Street has its own artwork and a signature color. 48th Street is teal, 47th is purple, 46th is dark blue, and 45th is green.  Jeff Smith

Grand Central Madison Inaugural Ride - January 25, 2023

East Side Access Opening Day timetable board over the Jamaica platform
showing the 10:45am departure to Grand Central Madison

Opening Day ticket to Grand Central Madison (GSM) from Jamaica  1/25/2023
Attendee/Collection: Dave Morrison

Yet to be filled rack for the new
Grand Central Madison timetables

M9 Station board on train


Jamaica Departure Board - First train to Grand Central 10:45am Photo: The LIRR Today

Grand Central Madison Inaugural Ride  souvenir ticket

Grand Central Madison display board



Photos: Dave Morrison, unless noted.

Grand Central Madison (GSM)
180 ft. long escalator

Grand Central Direct 2023 drumhead

GSM First train outbound departed at 11:46am

Collector Kelly Curry

Janno Lieber - MTA Board Chairman
at Jamaica Station

Westbound Conductor Antonio Hutchinson

Westbound Engineer John Zabniak

First Train Engineer John Ponee

First Train Conductor Lindsey Lyons

Grand Central Madison Opening Day Timetable for 1/25/20223 ONLY. The first train was 9013, departing Jamaica at 10:45am, arriving Grand Central at 11:07am.  - Courtesy of Kevin Wong

First LIRR Passenger train to Grand Central Madison - Newsday 1/26/2023


M9 #9188 arrival at GSM platform level
1/27/2023 Photos/Archive: Kevin Wong

GSM -  LIRR ticket office 1/27/2023
Photo: Kevin Wong

GSM future Ticket Vending Machine 1/31/2023 Photo: Everett Bajkowski

GSM Corridor 1/31/2023
Photo: Everett Bajkowski

M7 #7492 Video surveillan
ce sign 1/31/2023 Photo: Everett Bajkowski

Grand Central Madison (GSM) LIRR access 180 ft. long escalators
1/31/2023 Photos/Archive: Everett Bajkowski

M7 #7761 arrival at GSM LIRR platform level 1/27/2023 Photo: Jake Rothman
Grand Central - City Terminal Zone Branch Timetable - Grand Central Madison to Jamaica Direct Shuttle Service 1/26/2023

Madison Concourse Photo/Archive: Tom Alf

LIRR Escalators Photo/Archive: Tom Alf

LIRR Madison passage view S to GCT 2/03/2023 Photo/Archive: John Ciesla

LIRR Mezzanine 2/03/2023
Photo/Archive: John Ciesla

"Water's Way" by Kiki Smith 2/03/2023
Photo/Archive: John Ciesla

"The Sound" by Kiki Smith
2/03/2023 Photo/Archive: John Ciesla

"The Presence" by Kiki Smith 2/03/2023
Photo/Archive: John Ciesla

"The Spring" by Kiki Smith 2/03/2023
Photo/Archive: John Ciesla

LIRR Destination Board 2/03/2023
Photo/Archive: John Ciesla

Ticket Mineola to GSM 2/03/2023
Photo/Archive: John Ciesla

Grand Central Madison TVMs - 2/18/2023 Photo/Archive: Craig Lignelli

Grand Central Station -  2/18/2023 Photo/Archive: Craig Lignelli

GSM - Shuttle Service at Woodside

Jamaica to Grand Central shuttle trains. Started on Wednesday, January 25, this operation will end after next Sunday, February 26, when General Order 102 goes into effect with the full schedule to Grand Central.

M7 #7279 (Bombardier Transportation, 6/2004) comes to a stop at Woodside station with train #9633 (Jamaica-Grand Central) in this view SE.
Consist: 7279/7426+7539-7540+7641-7642+7133-7134

Info/Photo/Archive: Jeff Erlitz   - 2/19/2023


M7 7130 (Bombardier Transportation, 6/2003) leads train #9634 (Grand Central-Jamaica) just west of Woodside station in a view northwest with Signal Bridge 30 spanning the six-track right-of-way. This train was one of the alternating all-local trips. The other trips operate express between Grand Central and Jamaica. These Safetran color-light automatic block signals replaced traditional position light signals as part of the reconfiguration of Harold Interlocking for East Side Access.

Consist: 7130-7129+7288-7287+7774-7773+7408-7407

Info/Photo/Archive: Jeff Erlitz   - 2/19/2023

The same train about to pass under Signal Bridge 30 west of the station. Note that the white arrow is lit under the signal’s number plate, denoting this train is lined at Harold for the Grand Central Branch. Note also that there are arrows for Main Line Track 4 (on the left) and Port Washington Branch Track 1, even though there are no wayside signals here for those two tracks. The home signals at Harold also have these arrow indicators. For whatever reason, they felt this “advance” warning was warranted. The eastbound home signals at Harold have had similar arrow indicators (denoting a route established to the Port Washington Branch) ever since WIN Tower burned way back in March 1977! Those signals do not have an advance warning like these here do.

Info/Photo/Archive: Jeff Erlitz   - 2/19/2023

M7 7407 (Bombardier Transportation, 4/2005) leads all-stops local train #9637 (Jamaica-Grand Central) under Woodside Avenue and into Woodside station in this view southeast. Wood Interlocking, which is not on Main Line Tracks 1 and 3 here, was initially placed in service on 3/21/1988 but only on the Port Washington Branch on the left. The home signals on the signal bridge here, and the single crossover you see
beyond the Woodside Avenue overpass, were installed as part of East Side Access in the past decade.

Consist: 7407-7408+7773-7774+7287-7288+7129-7130

Info/Photo/Archive: Jeff Erlitz   - 2/19/2023

Grand Central Madison Operating Info Guide - 2/22/2023

GO 102 - Train Numbering Format

Note: EQ Trains are equipment trains designated as Q in the timetable. These are non-revenue passenger moves to reposition the train into the location it’s needed for service or to the yard/servicing facility.