While I’ve blabbed on and on about the Second Avenue subway, I’ve made scant mention of the nation’s other massive public works project, the extension of the Long Island Rail Road to a huge new station buried 15 stories under Grand Central. That project’s biggest challenge is constructing a system of escalators that can rapidly move tens of thousands of people a day.
The $7.3 billion project—the biggest mass-transit construction project under way in the U.S.—will bring trains from Long Island to the subterranean station when it opens sometime near the end of this decade. To circulate some 80,000 commuters per day through the new station, the MTA will rely on a complex system of 47 escalators, some stretching 180 feet long and sinking more than 90 feet down, dwarfing any other in the city’s transit system. And the success of the new station is riding in large part on how well they work.Commuters might endure a short trudge up stairs, but few would have patience—or the stamina—for a heart-pounding slog to the surface that rivals a military workout.
The new station is scheduled for a 2018 opening.