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Harlem-125 Street is the oldest existing train station in Manhattan, with the current station completed in 1897 along with the Park Avenue viaduct. It is the only intermediate stop on Manhattan Island and the only intermediate stop served by all 3 of the East of Hudson Metro-North Lines, the Harlem, Hudson, and New Haven Lines. North of the station, at the end of the Manhattan portion of Park Avenue (the street name resumes on the opposite side of the River and is the name of the streets along the Harlem/New Haven Line corridor all the way to Fordham) trains cross the Harlem River on the Harlem River Lift Bridge and enter the Bronx at about 133 Street. A few blocks into the Bronx, at Mott Haven Junction the Hudson Line curves west to follow the Harlem River while the Harlem and New Haven Lines continue together through the Bronx diverging at Woodlawn Junction, just south of the New York City/Westchester county line.

For service, nearly every Metro-North east of Hudson train on all 3 lines stops at Harlem-125 Street. The exceptions are a very few (7-15 on each line) peak direction rush hour trains that bypass the station. Unfortunately there no cost savings to staying on the Lexington Avenue line subway to 125 Street instead of getting on at Grand Central. Intermediate tickets from stations in the Bronx to the suburbs are significantly cheaper without any differential between peak and off-peak trains. The fares to 125 Street are exactly the same as those to Grand Central. Tickets can be purchased (and are valid only on Harlem and Hudson Line trains, not New Haven Line trains because of agreements dating back to the New York Central/New Haven Railroad days that made Fordham and Harlem-125 Street discharge/receive only) between 125 Street and Grand Central costing more than double subway fares ($6.25 off peak as of July 2015, or $8.25 peak, Monthly passes are a slightly better deal, assuming you never have to go anywhere else, at $186 between the two stations versus $127 for a 30 day unlimited).

The station's historic 1897 station house is nestled along the north side of 125 Street in the middle of Park Avenue under the viaduct above. The station and platforms were last restored in the mid-1990s with the station becoming fully ADA compliant with elevator access up to both platforms starting in 1999. The building has white painted brick walls with pink columns accented by red lines. The windows have green trim. Portions of the building have cinderblock walls clearly covering sealed former entrances or windows. All passengers from street level enter from two sets of doors along 125 Street. Here they are greeted with a wood paneled waiting room with some ornate wooden benches and columns covered in wood. The ticket windows with green wood-paneled windows are along one wall and a few TVMs are in the middle of the room. A couple of panels discuss the history of the Parking Avenue viaduct. Near the entrance doors are the platform elevators. At the opposite end of the public waiting room, a single wood paneled staircase leads up to an intermediate landing where it splits into two with a staircase continuing up to each platform. The waiting room is open at all hours of train service with the ticket windows open from 6:40am to 9:40pm with a few 20-minute closers for agent breaks.

The station itself has two island platforms for the four-track line. These platforms can accommodate 10 cars and are canopied by octagonal frameworks designed to mimic the historic station below. The exposed portions have green lampposts designed to look historic. Each platform contains a small non-public shed for dispatchers that has green walls and fits into the rest of the historic station feel. For access in addition to the staircase and elevator down directly into the station house a second staircase leads down from each platform to the south side of 125 Street right near some sort of former railway building.
Photos 1-11: 10 August, 2005; 12-19: 6 June, 2006; 20-25: 9 June, 2008; 26-43: 10 June, 2012; 44-47: 10 September, 2012; 48-51: 31 October, 2012; 53 & 54: 2 November, 2012

Art For Transit at 

Arts For Transit at Harlem-125 Street

Harlem Encore, 1999
Aluminum panels with ornamental back-lighting on overpass
By Terry Adkins

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Last Updated:21 November, 2015
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