The New Grand Central Terminal Digital Departure Display

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, September 16, 2019 5:18 AM
The Big Boards Are Here!

Grand Central Terminal DisplayAfter more than three years of planning, the new Big Boards at Grand Central Terminal (GCT) have finally come “on board.”

Replacement of the Big Boards and Gate Boards are part of a Customer Service Initiative, which includes:

  • A New Public Address System (audio)
  • A Visual InformationSystem (content you can see)
  • A New Cable Plant Infrastructure (the conduits and wires that provide power and enable information to travel over distance).

New Display next to Old Display in Grand Central TerminalAt the end of the project, all these different elements will be run from one central system, consolidating those systems in GCT with the outlying stations to drive visual information and announcements consistently across all information modalities.

The new boards didn’t come a day too soon: the old boards were obsolete and the supplier was no longer making replacement parts. Plus, it couldn’t function in real-time.

The new system provides greater redundancy, flexibility, and just a better overall customer experience.

With the older system, when there was a last-minute track change, customers might have to enact what some now nostalgically describe as a ‘cross-terminal dash’ — not terribly practical for most.

Customers can now see in advance where their train is leaving from, and get up-to-the minute updates, such as track assignments, track changes, and canceled train information.

That’s thanks to a new feature, a real-time train data system (RTTDS) which uses digital train data to provide a calculated prediction of train arrival times.

Before we could settle on the final look of the display of Big Board information, we had to work with the New York State Division for Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

For one, the new boards had to look like they were historic in context — but from which part of history? Though there is nostalgia for the old “flip” motion, we haven’t been using those since 1998 when we last upgraded the boards from their 1960s–era electro–mechanical, flap style version. And when GCT was built in 1913, there weren’t any boards at all!


Old Train Gate DisplayNew Train Gate DisplayStill, in trying to preserve historic context

our experts selected a full cap Garamond font to display on the big boards in an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant height and size, and the red, green, and blue colors reflecting the New Haven, Hudson and Harlem lines respectively.

New Gate Boards which will flank the entrances to our tracks at GCT

are also in the process of being replaced. Metro-North will complete the Gate Board installations in GCT before the summer of 2020, and completing the outlying station installation and communication and signal work by early 2021.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, November 28, 2019 9:15 AM

Reminder of the long past

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Friday, November 29, 2019 7:49 AM

NKP guy

   The Cleveland Union Terminal had a very large (10' x 10'?) and centrally located blackboard, impressively framed in bronze.  In front of it sat an attendant behind a small marble wall.  This man used chalk and a ladder to enter the information required.  It certainly wasn't as interesting as a Solari board, but there was some suspense as the attendant would write out in longhand what was happening with the train you were waiting for.  The only sound the blackboard made was when the chalk squeeked on it as he wrote.  When he finished writing he'd grab his microphone and announce the updated information as his voice echoed off the marble walls of the huge waiting room.  Who doesn't miss old-time train announcements?

   What did GCT use before the Solari's were installed?  Another blackboard?  Where was it located?  

   New Haven's station now has a new board just like the one on the right in the GCT photo.  I hate to say it, but it's easier to read and can contain more train information.  

   But still, I really enjoyed watching and hearing the Solari boards clacking away.  Which railroad museum will preserve one for visitors to enjoy?

 Cleveland Union Terminal was a huge impressive place, especially to a little kid like me. Riding the rapids downtown,  walking up  into the terminal, done up in brass and Marble.  Riding up to the observation deck of the terminal tower. You could see the passenger trains from the west on the viaduct over the Cuyahoga river, with steam and diesel Lakers with tugs as escorts.
Those  were the days.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, January 23, 2020 2:44 AM

 2019: Enhancing Service Reliability at Metro‑North!
In 2019, we made a real effort to improve on our on-time performance for you, our customer. And our hard work paid off!

On a year-to-year comparison, the number of times our trains arrived on time in 2019 averaged 94.4%, a 4.3% improvement over 2018. During peak hours, overall performance was at 93.2%, an improvement of 4.2%.

Much of the increase in on-time performance can be attributed to programs that Metro-North implemented this year.

We brought SMARTRACK to our railway projects,
so that we could accomplish major infrastructure fixes faster and smarter in a shorter period of time.

And we optimized our schedules to allow time for our trains to get around work that was being completed on our tracks and our right-of-way. This made our service more reliable, something, you our customer, could depend on, and that we delivered 94% of the time!

Some additional key indicators for performance at the railroad include a 55.4% reduction in cancelled or terminated trains, and a 41.3% reduction in the number of trains arriving more than 15 minutes late.

White Plains Station Update

So much can happen in a year! And that is especially true of the White Plains Station upgrades. <>
In 2019, we checked off a lot of boxes,
including a design and functional rebuild of the main station platform, with the installation of new wood platform canopies. We also built half of a new, glass-enclosed modern waiting room, new bathrooms, and created a new, modern ticket office.

Then we built a new on-platform space for our vendor, Tim Horton’s, and installed a new HVAC system for your comfort. New digital screens with clear messaging were also installed on the platforms. And, most recently we replaced the main elevator.

Coming up in January, and beyond
As part of ongoing station improvements at White Plains, in January the side platform will be closed in preparation for demolition and reconstruction.

Planned for the space will be a new, platform and canopy. The new platform will contain a heating element that will melt ice and snow, reducing the need for salting during winter storms. In addition, a new elevator will be installed, and heating elements will be added to the staircase leading down from the side platform. The side platform will also be extended to the north end of the station to increase the capacity and will include a beautiful art glass railing over Hamilton Ave.

As the year progresses,
the station lobby will undergo demolition and reconstruction, including the walls, ceilings, floors and glass entrance. New HVAC systems will be installed in the lobby as well as a new concession space for the Newsstand and a large mosaic art piece on the interior wall.

During this time, the side platform will be closed through November 2020. Also, to accommodate rehabilitation, the north end escalator will be closed in mid-January. The adjacent stairs will close in early March of this year and reopen sometime in late May.

In the second quarter of 2020,
the stairs to the garage overpass from the main platform will re-open.

All of the station improvements at White Plains are on target to be completed by the end of 2020. We look forward to welcoming you fully to our newly renovated station in 2021!

New Lactation Room Opens at Grand Central Terminal
Moms-on-the-go now have their own dedicated space in Grand Central Terminal for nursing their infants —
a new Lactation Room, located at Track 36 near Starbucks.

Open seven days a week,
mothers can request access to the room at the Grand Central Terminal’s Station Master’s Office. A customer service representative then escorts the mother and their baby to the room to unlock it.

“Our team at Metro-North strives to continue to find new ways to make riding Metro-North a more positive experience for our customers,” said Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi.

“The new Lactation Room will help customers better navigate our transportation network, and I’m proud that Metro-North is supporting women on their journey as new moms.”

The ADA accessible room
features climate control, an easy chair, a table, an electrical outlet to plug in a breast pump, and a lockable door for privacy. There is also a phone with a direct line to the Station Master’s Office in case of an emergency, and security cameras at the outside of the room’s entrance for additional safety.

So far, reception by the mom-public has been great.
Our post of the new room on Facebook received more than 32,000 likes and over 3,000 engagements.

“So happy to see mamas have a place to go now,” wrote one mother who is a full-time commuter.

Wrote another mom, “The stress of traveling when nursing just got a little easier.”

A Peek Inside Metro-North's Info Booth <>
“In an age where everything is increasingly digital, those behind the glass of the Grand Central Information booth — right below the famous clock where everyone meets — serve scores of travelers (and anyone with a question) with a smile and plenty of helpful hints,” reported NBC New York’s Andrew Siff.

 <>"On a gray day outside Grand Central, inside the outlook is clear," starts Siff.

The NBC 4 New York story <> features Metro-North Customer Service Representative Cleveia Paul, "One of the friendly faces behind that booth."
Her job, delivering information, with a smile, and facing questions that are endless. She is one of about 15 specially trained customer service employees. The most frequent question is, "Where is the bathroom?"

"It's refreshing to get a live person," says a customer. "The information remains personal,” concludes Siff. In the report, Siff even gets to go down the 'secret staircase,' which lies hidden behind the sliding brass door of the info booth.

After Rebuild, Mount Vernon’s 14th Avenue Bridge Gets New Art
New artwork has been installed on the 14th Avenue Bridge in Mount Vernon, NY.

In July, the newly replaced bridge opened to the public.

It’s simple:
Metro-North built the new structure with 200,000 pounds of steel, giving it a 50-year lifespan. The new bridge also provides wider sidewalks and has ADA ramps on the north side.

The new artwork adorns the sides of the bridge thanks to MTA Arts and Design, reported Michelle Brown for News12 NY.

The artwork called ‘Line to Line’
is by Frances Gallardo, a Cornell University artist originally from Puerto Rico, who “took that source material and extrapolated it, creating a new, fanciful and intricate grid on either side of the short bridge,” said The Journal News <> reporter Peter Kramer, who also wrote about the new artwork.

"Line to Line" consists of a dozen black powder-coated aluminum panels into which are cut lines based on the blueprints of Mount Vernon’s original street plot.

“The art we are looking at is kind of invented maps based on the very early blueprints of the city’s planning,” said Yaling Chen, Deputy Director, MTA Arts & Design in her interview with Brown.

The 14th Avenue Bridge is the first rebuilt bridge in Mount Vernon,
and is the first to be graced with new artwork. New art will also adorn the 6th Avenue, 10th Avenue, Third Avenue, Fulton Avenue and South Street Bridges. The art aims to knit the city together, with themes celebrating history, music, nature and diversity.

Next on the agenda,
is the replacement of the 6th Avenue Bridge in Mount Vernon, slated for 2020 and the 10th Avenue Bridge in 2021.

And on December 18, Metro-North announced the approval of the design-build contract by the MTA Board to replace the 119-year-old Third Avenue Bridge

Safety Rules of the Issue

We bring you these rules because your safety is always our first priority all year long!
Getaway this Winter Season with Metro-North!

Thunder Ridge Ski Area <>
Through March 15
Save money when you ride Metro-North to the slopes! Just 70 miles north of Manhattan in Patterson, New York, Thunder Ridge Ski Area’s scenic slopes are perfect for all levels of skiers and snowboarders – from beginner to expert. The package includes a round-trip rail ticket, all-day/all-night lift ticket (night skiing not available on Sundays), free shuttle bus and $5 discount on skis, ski poles, ski boots, or snowboard rentals.

For weather and snow conditions call 845-878-4100 or visit <>
See details on this discount package. <>
Package price from GCT/Harlem-125th Street: adults, $77.75; seniors, persons with disabilities and individuals receiving Medicare, $59; children 12, $64.75; children 6 – 11, $38; children 5, $19; children under 5, $17.

Getting there is simple:
Take the Harlem Line <> to Patterson Station where a shuttle bus meets designated trains [PDF] <> to take you to the ski area.

VR World NYC <>
Year-round, Seven days a week
Come play at the largest virtual reality entertainment center in the U.S! Voted the best place to play games (with other humans) in NYC by Thrillist. Zero experience needed. Fight a pro-boxer, jam with your favorite artists, or live out a zombie apocalypse. Includes:

(2 hours or All-day access)
RFID Enabled Wristband
Cloth Face Mask
See details on this discount package. <>
Package prices includes Discount admission to VR World: $33.25; children under 7 not admitted and discounted round-trip rail fares. <>
Getting there is easy:
Take any Hudson, Harlem or New Haven Line <> to Grand Central Terminal. From there it's about a 10 minute walk to 4 East 34th Street.

Pine Ridge Dude Ranch <>
Year-round, Seven days a week
Established in 2018, the new Pine Ridge Dude Ranch continues the tradition of the former, Pinegrove Ranch as a premiere, “all-inclusive,” affordable, family vacation destination.

Set on a 150-acre site in the Shawangunk Mountains, this ranch-style resort is 4.9 miles from Minnewaska State Park and 7.5 miles from Witch’s Hole State Forest.

Day Pass includes:
One free pony ride per Child
Access to all Facilities
See details on this discount package. <>
Package price from GCT/Harlem-125th Street: adults, $67.25; seniors, persons with disabilities and individuals receiving Medicare, $60.50; children 12, $60.25; children 6-11, $30, children 5, $14; children under 5, $12.

Getting there is simple:
Take the Hudson Line <> to Poughkeepsie Station, from there Zipcar <>, Lyft (Use discount code RAILREWARDS), Uber or a local taxi <tel:845-389-0835> can take you to the Pine Ridge Dude Ranch.

We can make sure you have something to do every weekend!
See a complete list of our Getaways <>.

          Courtesy Corner

Panhandling and Product Sales on Metro-North Trains Are Not Allowed
Selling goods, or soliciting donations from customers who are traveling aboard Metro-North trains is not permissible.

So, we ask our customers kindly, even if you are feeling kindhearted, please do not to buy products from persons selling items or make donations to persons requesting handouts on our trains.

Please make your purchases at a retail location or other licensed street vendor.

Metro-North cares about the homeless, and through an agreement with the Bowery Residents Committee <> (BRC), you can also make donations to the homeless at Grand Central Terminal, to our donations boxes <> located in the main Ticket Vending Machine room. All proceeds go directly to BRC.

It’s the courteous thing to do!

Published by
Corporate & Public Affairs, MTA Metro-North Railroad
420 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10170 <>
Mileposts Archive <>

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Posted by divebardave on Thursday, January 23, 2020 7:32 PM

I miss the clicky clack of the old sign...they should just put in the sound for ol times sake...also when I was half asleep on GCTs floor at 100am the click clak would wake me and send me running for the last train

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