42nd Street Shuttle Times Square Station Reconstruction

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42nd Street Shuttle Times Square Station Reconstruction
Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, July 14, 2019 10:16 PM




map marker United States | Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Reading Time : 4:45 minutes
Times Square Shuttle Station is not only part of the busiest subway station complex in
New York City, but its tangled layout can also be one of the most confusing for even the most experienced of the more than 200,000 passengers it serves every day.

Located near the intersection of 42nd street and Broadway, the station is located within the

original four-track tunnels that were constructed in 1904. Many of the station’s problems stem

from a curved track alignment that creates large platform gaps and prevents the station from

being accessible in accordance to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In addition, the station is limited to serving short three- and four-car trains on three operating

tracks, and the layout requires passengers to board each train from a different platform,

contributing to the confusion and congestion.

After numerous attempts since the 1950s to modify and reconstruct the existing station failed

to remedy the situation, New York City Transit (NYCT) commissioned WSP to undertake

conceptual feasibility and constructability studies that would address the stations problems and explore reconstruction opportunities.




The tangled layout of Times Square Shuttle Station can be confusing for the more than 200,000 passengers
it serves every day.

Road to Success

Two successful conceptual feasibility and constructability studies were undertaken by NYCT

and WSP in 2014 and 2015.

“The Times Square Shuttle Reconstruction Study required a constant search for new concepts

and solutions, combinations of various concepts, and allowed us to go beyond conventional and

typical methods,” said Aram Grigoryan, project manager for WSP. “The road to success started

in 2014 with a great team that included our client – the professionals and principals at NYCT – who had a vision to undertake and fund the two studies and to support us by continuously questioning and scrutinizing our engineering solutions.”

The challenge also required WSP to consider creative and innovative methods to maintain

station operations during construction and minimize impact on passengers – all without above-

ground excavation.

“One of the most significant achievements of this study that exceeded expectations is that the

Shuttle Station will be reconstructed and modified without the need for any excavation along
42nd Street,” Grigoryan said.

The reconstructed station will be shifted about 350 feet east of the current station footprint and into the

existing Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) rail tunnels. The new station will be served by two

six-car-long trains on Tracks 1 and 4.

Structural modifications recommended by the study to improve the station include construction

of a 28-foot wide center platform to serve both tracks, removal of 122 existing five-foot spaced columns along platform edges, removal of 11 mezzanine columns to improve passenger circulation and construction of new foundations to support 45

new station columns.

“The study developed modifications that will provide improved service, passenger safety,

circulation, and convenience, benefitting the growing number of passengers using Shuttle and

Times Square Station Complex,” Grigoryan said. “These improvements will save time, simplify

and streamline shuttle circulation. It is consistent with the growing importance and value of this

prime Midtown Manhattan location.”



A 3D rendering of the modified shuttle station shows how it will look with the new center platform, two tracks, and the edge columns removed.

Construction Begins

The study put NYCT on the right track to meet federal mandates to make the station ADA accessible. “The new and creative solutions we developed make all of NYCT’s desired improvements possible, and address all identified constraints, limitations and federal mandates,” he said.

The success of the study also led to WSP joining the NYCT design team for the next step in the process, providing final design for underground structural and geotechnical engineering. The final design was completed in 2018.

“The construction contract was awarded in March, and the contractor is mobilizing,” Grigoryan said. “WSP is looking forward to providing our engineering services during the construction phase of this process.”

Budgeted at a total cost of $230 million, completion of the reconfigured station is targeted for 2022.

WSP’s station design is helping NYCT by creating a Future Ready™ solution to a long-standing problem. By thinking beyond conventional approaches to transit and developing innovative ideas to overcome limitations with the existing framework, the new station will be constructed with minimal service disruption, and eventually improve flow and provide a more accommodating experience for all passengers who depend on this hub every day.



The tracks are located on sharp curves, creating large platform gaps that prevent this key station from being ADA accessible.

Grand Award

The American Council of Engineering Companies, New York Chapter (ACEC-NY) named the Times Square Shuttle Station study as a Diamond Award winner in the Studies, Research and Consulting Engineering Services category. The Diamond Award qualified the project for the ACEC national 2019 Engineering Excellence Grand Award competition. The project won ACEC National Grand Award.

“This is one of the highest awards in the engineering field and highlights our firm’s significant contributions to the profession and to the community,” Grigoryan said. “It recognizes our creative technical skills and expertise in underground engineering.”

The ACEC awards program recognizes projects across the U.S. that demonstrate the highest degree of achievement, value and ingenuity. The Grand Award qualified the study as a finalist for the ACEC national Grand Conceptor award.

Grigoryan views the award as recognition of an effort that paves the way for significant improvements to a long-standing problem.

“It is satisfying that NYCT had confidence that we would be able to find solutions to numerous challenges associated with long-standing and necessary improvements at the busiest subway station complex in NYC,” Grigoryan said.

The new and creative solutions developed during this study made the desired improvements possible, expanded NYCT’s options, and allowed NYCT to further improve and expand the modifications. He called it an outstanding example of how a public agency can honor its commitment to serve the best interests of its community.

“It is a great feeling that, because of our successful study, funding was secured, so that in 2016 the project was expeditiously advanced from study level to final design,” Grigoryan said. “NYCT was genuinely interested in improving the station and I believe the study ultimately exceeded their expectations. The results of this study will significantly improve the Times Square Shuttle Station operations and passenger experience.”

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All structural modifications and additional framing will be performed in the confined spaces of the existing subway tunnels and with limited headroom for framing modifications.

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  • Member since
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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, July 15, 2019 7:12 PM

"The reconstructed station will be shifted about 350 feet east of the current station footprint"

Hard to imagine they could shorten the line that much.  About the time that the last car of the 6 car train is leaving GCT, the front of the train should be arriving at the new Times Square station.

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 4:04 AM

The Shuttle is not that short.  Remember the "7" has a 5th Avenue station between Times Square and Grand Central subway station at Park and Lexington Avenues.

What is true is that people transferring to and from the 1, 2, and 3 will have to walk further.  The east end of the new wide platform should be pretty close to 6th Avenue, and a within-fare-control passegeway to the 6th Avenue Subway (B, D, F, M) 42nd St, Sfation mezzanine would be a real help.

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Posted by NKP guy on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 10:46 AM

   I enjoy walking through the Times Square station as I'm seeking out the S train to GCT.  The crowds, the vaguely-Peruvian music, the sense that most of these folks are locals, and especially the 1920-infrastructure/decor gives the station its authentic Old New York vibe.  

   But I just hate feeling trapped when the S train starts to move and suddenly I hear a voice say, "Good afternoon everyone, my name is (fill in the blank) and...I need money..." or, just as bad, someone starts to sing...loudly.

   In only a few minutes the performance ends, the car empties and I'm on my way to the Oyster Bar, another authentic Knickerbocker delight. 


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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 11:04 AM

Prefer the singing.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, September 16, 2019 5:43 AM
42nd Street NYC Transit Shuttle Two-Year Renovation Starts

Subway ShuttleIn mid-August, work began on a major renovation of the NYC Transit’s 42nd Street Shuttle, which carries some 100,000 riders daily between Times Square and Grand Central Terminal, two of the MTA's busiest stops.

Many of those riders are Metro-North customers (that’s you!)

traveling on to work after coming into the Terminal, or making your way back to a Metro-North train after a long day.

ADA iconThe renovations will replace the existing Times Square end with a roomier, ADA-accessible terminus, reconfigure platforms at the Grand Central end, and modernize the train operations.

The result will provide more passenger capacity, full accessibility, and a more pleasant, accommodating station environment.

Construction will be scheduled in multiple phases to minimize service impacts and customer inconvenience.

Throughout the project, some crowding is expected during peak travel times in the morning and afternoon.

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 5:03 AM

August 31, 2020
MTA Completes Major Upgrades at 42nd St.–
Grand Central –
Busiest Subway Entrance in New York City
 Project Completed 7 Months Ahead of Initial Schedule; Replacement of
Stairway Completed 25 Weeks Ahead of Schedule
Completion Signals Major Milestone in 42 St Connection Project

View Photos of Work
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the completion of major upgrades at 42nd St.–Grand Central – the busiest subway station entrance in New York City. The project included a total replacement of two escalators, an adjacent stairway and a newly replaced elevator leading to the subway station. These upgrades are part of the larger 42 St Connection Project, which will modernize key elements of the Times Square, Grand Central, and stations in between the 42 St corridor.

The entrance leading from the mezzanine of Grand Central Terminal into the subway is the busiest entry point in the New York City subway system, with approximately 135,800 combined daily entries and exits in pre-pandemic times. Work was completed in 19 months from its January 2019 start, ahead of the initial projection of 26 months, cutting about 25% from the project schedule.
“These accessibility improvements, at the busiest entrance to our subway system, were delivered ahead of schedule and will greatly improve our customer experience in and around Grand Central station,” said Janno Lieber, President of MTA Construction & Development. “Bundling multiple like projects under one, accountable and empowered, project lead is the new way of doing business and it is what has us bringing in projects on time and on budget.”
“When you think of the hustle and bustle of New York City, Grand Central is one of the landmarks that immediately comes to mind,” said Sarah Meyer, Chief Customer Officer of New York City Transit. “Ensuring one of our marquee stations has state-of-the-art accessibility is a crucial piece to the overall project in modernizing one of the most frequented areas in our system. This is just one piece to the bigger puzzle, but we are excited to keep this momentum going.”
Early on during the start of construction, the project was re-phased so that customers had access to either the escalators or stairway for the duration of the project to improve customer experience and circulation. In early June 2020, the entire entry point was removed from service to give the contractor total access to accelerate work while there was low customer volume at Grand Central due to the pandemic.

As a result of the re-phasing, the stairway replacement was completed in seven weeks compared to its original 8-month projection. The old stairway was fully gutted and replaced with a wider ADA-compliant stairway - including brass railings to match the elegant and historic finishes of the Kenneth Cole stairway. This re-phasing also allowed the escalator work to be completed early reducing the outage by six months. Crews replaced existing escalators with more modern technology that will deliver a smoother ride and includes new self-reporting diagnostic technology that will result in better overall performance for commuters.

With this new technology, the escalators will have the ability to send an alert in real-time detailing any potential issues to maintenance crews, allowing for quicker turnarounds on service repairs and fewer outages. The replaced elevator also includes this new diagnostic technology, allowing for quicker turnarounds on any repairs and reducing the length of potential outages overall. In addition to the new tech, the elevator has a brand-new cab and machine room that will vastly improve customer experience.

Other installations include replacing incandescent lighting with more energy-efficient LED lighting that cuts energy use by about 40-percent. Mirrored-glass artwork by artist Jim Hodges will be installed over the stairs and escalators later this year.

This is a continuation of the work completed earlier this year at Grand Central station. In February a 1,500-sq. ft. mezzanine was opened with two new stairways and a new fare control area. The Hyatt Core was completed a few weeks later, expanding the mezzanine space. In May, the elevator to the   line platform was fully replaced.
About 42 St Connection Project
Once completed, the 42 St Connection Project will more seamlessly connect the transit corridor underneath 42 Street to make transferring easier, reduce the overall commute time for customers, and expand system access for customers with disabilities by making the 42 St Shuttle line accessible.
An overview of the project can be seen below.
42 St Shuttle
•    Expand capacity on the train by 20%
•    ADA-compliant by reconfiguring and straightening the tracks to remove the gaps between the platform and the trains
•    New signaling system, which is configurable to the latest signaling technology
•    Greater reliability and accessibility
Grand Central Station (Lexington and Flushing lines)
•    Fully ADA-compliant facility
•    Column, floor and wall finishing work to improve the customer experience
•    12 widened platform stairwells and five brand new stairs
•    New and redesigned escalators and elevators
•    22,000 sq-ft. Shuttle platform—the widest platform in the entire New York City Transit subway system
Bryant Park Station Complex
•    New in-system transfer between 42 St-Times Sq and Bryant Park, providing
•     access to the 6 Av    
Times Square
•    Fully ADA-compliant facility
•    New turnstiles
•    Digital information screens
•    Energy-efficient LED lighting
•    Rebuilt Shuttle station, including a centralized platform serving two tracks
•    New street elevator, wider street stairs, and larger fare control areas
For information on the 42 St Connection Project please visit our dedicated

webpage here.

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