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Grand Central Terminal has largest number of rail platforms of any train station in the world all underground, with 44 platforms for Metro-North trains, located on two-levels, and a total of 67 tracks, with 43 in use for passenger service. All platforms are high-level and all tracks electrified via third rail. Historically trains on the New York Central and New Haven Railroads left for points as close as Westchester County, and as far away as Chicago, Montreal, and various points in New England.

Train service from the terminal is extremely frequent with at least (pre-COVID) three trains per hour on each of the east of Hudson Metro-North Lines: twice hourly electric locals (reduced to hourly at many hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic) on the Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven Lines to Stamford, North White Plains, and Croton-Harmen. Express trains run hourly on the Hudson Line (using Shoreline cars and dual-mode locomotives) to the line’s farthest point in Poughkeepsie and hourly on the Harlem Line, using third rail only electric Metropolitan trains to Southeast, where half of the trains connect to the every two hours diesel shuttle train up to Wassaic. New Haven Line express service to New Haven is hourly (or better for many hours of the day), running with dual-mode (both third rail, and catenary powered) Cosmopolitan M8 trains to express trains. These trains connect with M8 electric hourly shuttle trains to New Canaan, and less frequent diesel shuttle trains to Danbury and Waterbury. During rush hours there are through electric trains to New Canaan, and dual-mode trough trains to Wassaic and Danbury. The New Haven Line’s Waterbury branch is the only East of Hudson Metro-North line to not receive any rush hour one-seat ride service from Grand Central.

Historically, all Amtrak trains running north up the Hudson to Albany left from Grand Central Terminal until the Empire Connection opened on April 7, 1991, consolidating Amtrak operations in New York City across town at Penn Station. These trains included the Lake Shore Limited (successor of New York Central’s famous 20th Century Limited), today’s Empire Service Trains, plus the Adirondack, and Maple Leaf. Amtrak service has returned to the station on a few occasions, including in February 2003 when a barge hit the central beam of the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge (used by Amtrak trains to cross the Harlem River and join the Metro-North Hudson Line in the Bronx) and from June through August 2018 to allow for infrastructure work in Penn Station and along the Empire Connection.

All terminal tracks and platforms are located underground with most having cream painted columns, and green ramps from the main station down to them (if required). The stop is named Grand Central Terminal because all trains terminate or originate at the station, no train service was ever designed to go through the station, making Grand Central a terminal and not a station.

The tracks and platforms can be classified using three different unique types:

The station also has two additional platforms on the small Lexington (Waldorf-Astoria yard) for tracks 51 through 65, that are no longer in passenger service. These platforms were used in the past by US presidential trains staying in the Waldorf-Astoria with an elevator directly up into the hotel, allowing for a quick presidential escape if needed.
Photos 1-7: December 5, 2004; 8-9: June 9, 2008; 10-11: October 31, 2012; 12-15: November 2, 2012; 16-60: May 12, 2013; 61-63: June 30, 2014; 65-72: July 17, 2015

1912 StationGrand Central North
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1912 StationGrand Central North
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MTA Metro-North Railroad

Last Updated:11 December, 2020
All photos are by Jeremiah Cox
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