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This article is about the New York City subway station. For the adjacent railroad terminal after which this station was named, see Grand Central Terminal.

Grand Central–42nd Street is a major hub in the New York City Subway, and was the second busiest station in 1994.[1] It lies next to and beneath Grand Central Terminal, which serves all Metro-North Railroad lines east of the Hudson River. It is located at the intersection of Park Avenue and 42nd Street, with parts of the station extending east to Lexington Avenue. It is an all-IRT transfer point.

42nd Street Shuttle platformsEdit

The 42nd Street–Grand Central shuttle platforms date from the original IRT subway, opened in 1904. Grand Central, as it was called then, was an express stop with two island platforms between the local and express tracks.

The present configuation of the shuttle has three tracks coming into the station; the old southbound express track was removed. There is no connection between the northbound local track and the other two. Island platforms are located between both pairs of tracks; the southernmost platform is wide, covering the area where the southbound express track (track 2) had been located. The two platforms connect directly, as tracks 3 and 4 terminate at stopping blocks. The south track (track 1) merges with the southbound local track of the Lexington Avenue Line. This merge is used to supply rolling stock to the shuttle line, and occasionally during special railfan excursions. The other three original tracks followed similar paths until the Lexington Avenue Line was extended north, turning this part of the line into a shuttle.

This station was used in a famous scene in the 1971 film The French Connection.

IRT Flushing Line platformEdit

42nd Street–Grand Central on the Flushing Line has a single island platform. There is a large round ceiling, making the station similar to the London Underground, Paris Metro and systems in Eastern Europe. Along the platforms are stairs and escalators to other lines and to a mezzanine and passageways under the Grand Central Terminal concourse. Exits and entrances are located at the center, west and east ends of the platform. There is an ADA-accessible elevator toward the west end. A newsstand/snack shop is located on the platform towards the east end.

IRT Lexington Avenue Line platformsEdit

42nd Street–Grand Central on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line was also known as the Diagonal Station at time of construction, being oriented 45° from the street grid. It has two island platforms, one on each side between the local and express tracks, and includes a crossover and a crossunder. The columns and beams here are massive, in order to support part of Grand Central Terminal and the office towers next to it.

On one wall, there is a stylised steam locomotive mosaic. The northbound platform's side wall includes tile depicting a big passageway; the first room, as seen from the platform, has doors to a second room which appears to be a mechanical room. There is a correctly oriented compass rose inlaid on the floor of the mezzanine.

The southbound local track south of the station merges into a lead from the IRT 42nd Street Shuttle; this track was part of the original four-track IRT subway. This track is now used for moving trains to and from the shuttle and for launching railfan trips from the shuttle tracks.

Just south of the station, the tracks split, with two on each side of the 1870 New York and Harlem Railroad Park Avenue Tunnel (now used for automobile traffic).

The Grand Central complex is home to the master tower which controls the entire Lexington Avenue Line, located south of the Lexington Avenue Line platforms.

The New York City Transit Authority had a scheme in the early 1950s to make a lower level to the station, also of four tracks. It would tap into the express tracks beyond the station and be used as an intermediate terminal stop for certain lines. There is room between the station and the Flushing Line for such a new level.

The complexEdit

An east-west passageway connects the mezzanine, above the Flushing Line and Lexington Avenue Line platforms, to the 42nd Street Shuttle and has numerous exits into Grand Central Terminal, to the street level and directly into several buildings along 42nd Street.

The station has undergone various recent renovations, but some of the passages still require repair or renovation. At the same time, a project was ongoing to air cool the station in conjunction with Metro-North Railroad's project to cool Grand Central Terminal. However, as of 2006, only the Lexington Avenue Line station is air-cooled, making it the only artificially cooled station in the New York City Subway. The Flushing Line platforms have been equipped with fans but not an air cooling system.

Original plans for PATH (at that time the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad) had it extending north and east from its current northern terminal at 33rd Street/Sixth Avenue to Grand Central. Space was left for the platforms and line, but it was never built.

Except for the 42nd Street Shuttle (which is inaccessible at its other station at Times Square), the whole station is handicapped accessible, as is the connection to Grand Central Terminal (see Metro-North Railroad accessibility).

Relative depthsEdit

IRT Third Avenue Line transfersEdit

For a while, free transfers were provided between the subway station and 42nd Street on the elevated IRT Third Avenue Line. This started on June 14, 1942, the day after the IRT Second Avenue Line, which provided access to Queensboro Plaza and the IRT Flushing Line, was closed. The Third Avenue Line closed on May 12, 1955, rendering the transfer obsolete.[1]

Bus connectionsEdit


  1. 'El' Will Cease Saturday, New York Times June 7, 1942 page 31

External linksEdit

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Shuttles NYCS Route S (42nd StreetFranklin AvenueRockaway Park)
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