Fordham is Metro-North's third busiest station outside of Manhattan (after Stamford and White Plains), and fifth busiest overall. The reason for this isn't primarily commuters from Fordham into Grand Central but reverse-peak commuters commuting to jobs in the White Plains, Stamford and other suburban office parks. The station is also the one stop, from an agreement dating back to 1848 between the New Haven Railroad and the New York Central Railroad (Harlem Line) for trackage rights, that New Haven Railroad (Line) trains are allowed to serve in the Bronx (one source informs me that the station was Woodlawn until the 1920s). The legacy of this agreement between the MTA and State of Connecticut still prohibits New Haven Line trains from carrying passengers between the Bronx and Manhattan so the station is receiving passengers only northbound and discharging only southbound. Passengers wanting to take Metro-North into Manhattan can only board the Harlem Line trains. This receive/discharge status doesn't make the fares the same. Tickets from Fordham are still in the much cheaper intermediate status, and peak/off-peak times don't matter. An example of the price difference on the New Haven Line (as of mid-2015) to New Haven is $21.75 peak, $16.25 off-peak from GCT or 125 Street, while a ticket from Fordham to New Haven is only $13.00 at all times.
The station though isn't well designed to be a major stop; it has just two narrow side platforms for the four-track line. This means all trains that stop at the station must use the outside local tracks through the Bronx (between interlockings north of Woodlawn and south of Melrose). Consequently service to the station suffers with generally only the local trains running every half-hour on the Harlem and New Haven Lines stopping at the station, with passengers going from Fordham to Upper Harlem Line or farther New Haven Line stations needing to transfer at White Plains and Stamford. During reverse-peak periods, when trains normally operate with both of the express tracks in the peak direction, this isn't the case, with Fordham receiving much more service, on the Harlem Line (except for a few GCT to White Plains non-stop expresses, that are basically in service deadheading moves) all northbound trains stop from the beginning of service until 9:00am, and southbound trains between 5:00pm and 7:45pm. The New Haven Line is similar, with a number of express trains stopping at the station although some still skip the station.
The Fordham Station consists of two narrow side platforms that can accommodate 8 cars for the four-track line. The southern end of the platform is beneath the Fordham Plaza Overbuild inside a tunnel with stone retaining walls; here a single staircase leads down to each platform from Fordham Plaza and the south side of Fordham Road (just east of Webster Avenue) to the extreme southern end of each platform. On the opposite side of Fordham Road an elevator, added when the station became accessible in 1996 (there were probably earlier elevators for freight), and a second staircase leads up to the stations brick station house that straddles the tracks. This brick single-story station house has been nicely restored. Inside there is a small waiting room with a ticket office looking over the tracks that is open at nearly all times 7 days a week.
The rest of the platforms extend north, the southbound platform can accommodate 8 cars while the northbound appears to be slightly longer, and until current reconstruction efforts began both platforms were extremely narrow and only 8 feet wide in places with silver canopy structures with central beams that impede passenger flow covering the entirety of the northbound platform and just under half of the southbound. The northern portion of the canopy on the northbound platform was added around 2007 and was of a slightly different design taking up less space. The northbound platform had a chain-link fence along it that separates it from some vacant and unusable property (blocking a retaining wall) owned by Fordham University, while the New York-bound platform is along Rose Hill Park with the park gradually sloping down as Webster Avenue becomes nearly level with the tracks.
As part of a $20 million renovation announced in 2010 and begun in 2012 the MTA purchased the unusable, narrow strip of land (a 7,128 square-foot parcel) beneath the retaining wall along the northbound platform from Fordham University for $392,000. The MTA is now widening the northern portion (the southern portion in the tunnel beneath Fordham Road can't be widened) of the northbound platform up to 20 feet wide and building a wide new on platform waiting area. The platform will be fully canopied with modern green frameworks. The New York-bound platform can't get any wider because it's directly along the retaining wall of Rose Hill Park. The platform is getting a new green canopy and green lampposts that are directly attached to the retaining wall to take up the least amount of space on the narrow platform as possible. Finally a new entrance to this platform has been built at the extreme northern end with an ADA compliant ramp that gradually leads upward a slight amount before curving away from the tracks onto a new walkway into the northern corner of Rose Hill Park (a small pocket park) along Webster Avenue across from the T-intersection of 193 Street.
Photos 1-3: 20 June, 2005; 4-5: 17 July, 2011; 6-10: 27 June, 2012; 11-21 5 April, 2013; 22-35: 30 September, 2013; 36-38 16 October, 2013; 39: 1 November, 2013; 40-42: 2 November, 2013; 43-44: 23 November, 2013; 45-50: 7 June, 2014; 51-67: 1 August, 2015; 68-70: 15 September, 2015