What does East Side Access mean for New York City?

Fantastic Concept

Penney Vanderbilt and KC Jones: All About Railroads


If you duck through the wrong door in Grand Central Terminal, you might stumble into East Side Access: the more-than-$11-billion-and-counting mammoth transit project that the MTA has worked on for more than a decade.

Today it involves some 2,000 contractors and workers, a brand-new tunnel more than a hundred feet below Manhattan, and the rebirth of an unused old one under the East River between Queens and Manhattan — all to bring the Long Island Rail Road to the transit hub of Grand Central.

New York City is known for nearly neverending transit projects, but even in that dismal pantheon East Side Access is special. It was envisioned decades ago and meant to be completed by 2009. But there have been delays and cost overruns since then, thanks to insane logistics and byzantine staffing and procurement requirements, among other nightmares. Last month we had version 8.0 or so of…

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