Station: Grand Central (IRT East Side Line)

From nycsubway.org


IRT East Side Line at Grand Central. Fisheye view. Photo by: Peter Ehrlich, October 2009.

IRT East Side Line

Woodlawn · Mosholu Parkway · Bedford Park Boulevard · Kingsbridge Road · Fordham Road · 183rd Street · Burnside Avenue · 176th Street · Mt. Eden Avenue · 170th Street · 167th Street · 161st Street-Yankee Stadium · 149th Street-Grand Concourse · 138th Street · 125th Street · 86th Street · 59th Street · Grand Central · 14th Street-Union Square · Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall · Fulton Street · Wall Street · Bowling Green · Borough Hall · Nevins Street · Atlantic Avenue · Franklin Avenue · Utica Avenue


Dyre Avenue · Baychester Avenue · Gun Hill Road · Pelham Parkway · Morris Park · East 180th Street · West Farms Sq.-East Tremont Ave.-177th St. · 174th Street · Freeman Street · Simpson Street · Intervale Avenue · Prospect Avenue · Jackson Avenue · 3rd Avenue-149th Street · 149th Street-Grand Concourse · 138th Street · 125th Street · 86th Street · 59th Street · Grand Central · 14th Street-Union Square · Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall · Fulton Street · Wall Street · Bowling Green · Borough Hall · Nevins Street · Atlantic Avenue · Franklin Avenue · President Street · Sterling Street · Winthrop Street · Church Avenue · Beverly Road · Newkirk Avenue · Flatbush Avenue

6.GIF Pelham Bay Park · Buhre Avenue · Middletown Road · Westchester Square · Zerega Avenue · Castle Hill Avenue · East 177th Street-Parkchester · St. Lawrence Avenue · Morrison-Soundview Avenues · Elder Avenue · Whitlock Avenue · Hunts Point Avenue · Longwood Avenue · East 149th Street · East 143rd Street · Cypress Avenue · Brook Avenue · 3rd Avenue-138th Street · 125th Street · 116th Street · 110th Street · 103rd Street · 96th Street · 86th Street · 77th Street · 68th Street · 59th Street · 51st Street · Grand Central · 33rd Street · 28th Street · 23rd Street · 18th Street · 14th Street-Union Square · Astor Place · Bleecker Street · Spring Street · Canal Street · Worth Street · Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall · City Hall


Opened: 7/17/1918

Transfer here to: IRT Flushing Line, IRT Times Square-Grand Central Shuttle

Grand Central is an express stop and the first station along the line from Brooklyn Bridge built as part of the "Dual Contracts." During its construction it was referred to as the "Diagonal Station", owing to its position on a diagonal connecting the IRT Contract I subway under Park Avenue with the new Dual Contracts subway under Lexington Avenue. (Since then, the subway south of Grand Central has come to be known as the "Lex" even though it runs under Park Avenue and various other thoroughfares.) The station is roughly positioned beginning at 41st Street & Park, running under the buildings along 42nd Street between Park & Lexington, and ending just north of 42nd Street at the west side of Lexington. A December, 1918 article published in the Public Service Record, Design of the Diagonal Station and Connection, details the construction, and a later single line diagram gives a scale representation of the track and platform layout.

The station platforms are decorated with what will be recognized as "typical Dual Contracts" name tablets, icons, and "runner" mosaics along the trackside walls. The icon in this case is a stylized steam locomotive, apropos to the station's location under Grand Central Terminal (which in its early days indeed had steam powered trains). MTA Metro-North's renovations of Grand Central Terminal included an air-conditioning project, and this was extended to the usually extremely warm IRT subway platforms. Chilled water-based air coolers are located at several points along the platforms, making Grand Central the only artificially cooled station on the New York City Subway. The platform's massive columns and beams support part of Grand Central Terminal and the office towers next to it.

The station offers transfer to the IRT Flushing, Queens line as well as the Shuttle to Times Square. The complex also included provisions for a terminal station serving a future extension of the Hudson & Manhattan (PATH) railroad's 6th Avenue line, planned in the early part of the century but never constructed. As a result the station is extremely complex, with a mezzanine above the IRT Lexington line platforms which has direct access by escalator to the Flushing line. There is also a cross-under below the Lexington line platforms offering an easier transfer path to the Flushing line. The mezzanine features as artwork a correctly-oriented compass rose inlaid on the floor.

The Grand Central complex is home of the master tower which controls the entire East Side IRT. from lower Manhattan to 125th Street. The interlocking control is quite a sight. The board board shows the status of all of the signals and switches, and roughly indicates the train locations along the East Side IRT. In the photo of the board below, the City Hall loop is on the top track diagram on the far left, and at the close right is Grand Central. The lower tracks indicate from Grand Central north to 125th Street.

After leaving Grand Central, the express tracks descend to a lower level, and the line continues north in a 2-over-2 configuration. The station lies pretty much due east and west;

Some relative depths of stations in the Grand Central complex are as follows, +/- 10 feet.

  • Shuttle, 20 feet below street
  • Lexington/East Side Subway Platforms, 50 feet
  • Flushing/#7 Subway Platforms, 80 feet
  • Metro North, Upper Level, 20 feet
  • Metro North, Lower Level, 60 feet


Diagram of the "Diagonal Station". Click to enlarge.


Title unknown, artist unknown

Photo Gallery

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Photo by: David Pirmann
Location: Grand Central

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Photo by: Richard Brome
Location: Grand Central

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Collection of: David Pirmann
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Photo by: Charles Ali
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Photo by: Gary Chatterton
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Photo by: Zach Summer
Location: Grand Central

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Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
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Photo by: Richard Panse
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Photo by: Zach Summer
Location: Grand Central

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Photo by: Richard Chase
Location: Grand Central

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Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld
Location: Grand Central

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Collection of: Collection of nycsubway.org
Location: Grand Central

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Collection of: Collection of nycsubway.org
Location: Grand Central

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Photo by: Roy Freeman
Location: Grand Central

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Photo by: Zach Summer
Location: Grand Central

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