what to know
- New York Transit and elected leaders said the massive expansion of Metro-North would provide 150,000 miles of rail service to people and dramatically reduce travel times.
- Metro-North service to Penn Station will be provided via the New Haven Line, which will connect Manhattan, East Bronx, Westchester, and Connecticut.
- The new train service will save people 50 minutes a day in the time it takes to get to Manhattan and open up many opportunities for reverse commuting.
NEW YORK — Traveling from Connecticut or the Hudson Valley to Manhattan’s West Side may soon be easier and shorter.
New York Governor Cathy Hochul and other state legislators were ready Friday for a grand opening in the Bronx that’s been a long time coming: four new transit stations, which will give Metro-North riders a direct line for the first time. The heart of Midtown Manhattan, at the city’s recently renovated (and still undergoing renovations) Penn Station.
The $3.18 billion Metro-North Penn Station Access project, along with four new stations in the Bronx, is part of a broader infrastructure effort that will eventually open a new LIRR terminal beneath Grand Central, bringing rail service within miles of half a million people and will be the largest expansion for Metro-North since its inception in 1983.
Four new stations at Hunts Point, Parkchester/Van Nest, Morris Park and Co-op City will also be ADA compliant. Construction of the four actual stations is expected to begin in 2024. The Penn Station Access Project is expected to be fully completed in 2027.
Among other benefits, the expansion is expected to provide:
- Big reduction in travel time. Commuters traveling from the East Bronx to Penn Station can save up to 50 minutes each way, and commuters traveling to Connecticut can save up to 75 minutes. For example, it now takes about 75 minutes to reach Penn from the proposed Co-op City station. Once the project is over, it should take 25.
- Increase reverse scrolling opportunity. Reverse commuters will be able to travel more conveniently from Penn Station to Hunts Point, Parkchester/Van Nest, Morris Park, Co-op City, Westchester and southern Connecticut.
- Benefits for the local economy and improved sustainability. Improving access to the East Bronx, Westchester, and Connecticut will benefit local educational complexes, medical institutions, and shopping centers. By greatly reducing travel times, Penn Station Access will make public transportation a viable and attractive travel option, encouraging drivers to switch to public transportation and reducing traffic congestion and emissions.
- Improving regional connectivity. Bronx residents and those commuting from the New York City metropolitan area, Westchester, Connecticut and the Northeast will have easy access to destinations throughout the Northeast with connections to NJ Transit, LIRR, PATH, Amtrak Subway and NYCT.
Amtrak’s Hell Gate Line will provide a four-way route to optimize existing infrastructure and reduce the impact of construction on surrounding communities. Metro-North trains stopping at the four new Bronx stations will serve as an extension of the New Haven line from New Rochelle station, offering transit options from the East Bronx to Midtown Manhattan, as well as directions to and from Westchester and Connecticut.
All the additional money needed to expand Metro-North’s New Rochelle yard in Westchester and upgrade signal, power and communications infrastructure increased the estimated cost from $2.87 billion to $3.18 billion.
The project also includes rehabilitation work to repair and strengthen the following four bridges to carry increased rail traffic: the Bronx River Bridge, the Eastchester Road Bridge, the Bronxdale Avenue Bridge, and the Pelham Lane Bridge.
“Penn Station access is a game changer for a vast, private transit swath in the Bronx. 500,000 residents live just a mile from the four new Metro-North stations, and many more when you look at the entire service area,” MTA President and CEO Janno Lieber said in a statement. “This project means dramatically less travel to work and greater access to jobs, education, healthcare and everything New York has to offer.”
Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson said, “The East Bronx has long been disadvantaged when it comes to transportation access, but these four new Metro-North stations will make it easier for commuters to travel to their destinations and our municipality will help eliminate transit deserts.
The other component of the transit overhaul is the long-awaited East Side Access, an $11.2 billion project to connect the Long Island Railroad to a new station near Grand Central Terminal. This would provide LIRR service directly to a new concourse beneath the established transit hub and mark the first rail expansion in over a century.
Last week, the MTA announced that Grand Central Madison is officially on track to open in December. The Federal Railroad Administration approved the project.
The project includes work at several locations in Manhattan and Queens, and includes more than eight miles of tunnels. It would bring all 11 branches of the LIRR through a new East River Tunnel with a final destination under the current Grand Central. This new route will save valuable time for commuters going to the East Side.
According to the MTA, upon completion, East Side Access will serve approximately 162,000 customers a day.
It is one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects completed in the United States in recent years, as well as the largest new rail terminal to be built in the United States since the 1950s.