'GAME CHANGER': LIRR to begin service to Grand Central on Wednesday

On Sunday, Nov. 13, the MTA held a station operations exercise at Grand Central Madison in which volunteers participated in an exercise to navigate the concourse and make notes on travel paths throughout the terminal, signage, and general wayfinding elements. Photo credit MTA

HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (1010 WINS) — Long Island Rail Road trains will start running to Grand Central Terminal for the first time Wednesday, a major boon for commuters that's been decades in the making.

The completion of the $11.1 billion East Side Access megaproject, which took more than 15 years to build and was first proposed in the mid–20th century, will be marked with the launch of a shuttle service from Jamaica to Grand Central Madison on Wednesday at 10:45 a.m.

Grand Central Madison was built to reduce travel times to and from Manhattan's East Side and ease congestion at Penn Station.

For at least three weeks, LIRR will operate limited shuttle service between Jamaica and Grand Central Madison so customers can familiarize themselves with the new terminal as existing schedules continue, officials said.

Commuters were thrilled to hear Tuesday that the long-awaited project is finally a reality.

"It saves me riding on the subway," one commuter in Hicksville said. "Save me some money."

"It's gonna be a game changer," another commuter said.

Grand Central Madison will be a life-changing station for some commuters when it comes to travel time—40 minutes, 50 minutes, even an hour difference in their day, they said.

Trains will operate between 6:15 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on weekends.

Officials said trains will run every 30 minutes during the day and every 60 minutes during peak hours.

The LIRR will post customer ambassadors on the Grand Central Madison concourse for the duration of this initial phase "to greet customers and offer information about the new space."

Commuters looking to travel to Grand Central Madison can use Penn Station tickets, as Penn Station and Grand Central Madison are in the same fare zone.

Featured Image Photo Credit: MTA