Grand Central Terminal

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  • Member since
    December 2003
  • 400 posts
Grand Central Terminal
Posted by martin.knoepfel on Monday, April 21, 2008 2:06 PM

A question as to GCT in New York City. Do the loop-tracks still exist? (They are on the original plans.) AFAIK, Metro-North runs all its trains in the push-pull-mode with EMUs or loco-hauled trains with driving trailers. So the loop is no longer needed, since AMTRAK moved to Penn Station years ago.

Another point struck me. The trip-times from GCT to Harlem 125th street are quite long. Ten minutes for four miles. What is the reason for such a slow pace?

Thanks for answers.

  • Member since
    June 2002
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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, April 25, 2008 12:43 AM

The loop tracks on both levels are in use.   Saves time, since the engineer doesn't have to walk through the train to the other end to start back north.   Mostly used in the morning rush by incoming trains that then deadhead back to a yard, and in the evening by trains deadheading to GCT to pick-up passengers going north.   Also, car usage and scheduling is worked out so that use of the loop tracks equalizers ware on the wheels by an every-six-months swap of north and south ends of mu cars not usually using the loops.

The running distance from 42nd to 125th is about four miles, so 10 minutes is an average speed of 24 mph.  The throat trackage of GCT is extensive, was designed around 1906, and top speed through this section has I believe only recently been raised to 15 mph.   It used to be 8 mph, with maximum speed in the tunnels, on the straight, at 35 mph.  Possibly now it is 45 mph.  The Lexington Avenue subway, without any throat trackage, just a sharp curve north of 42 St., makes the trip in 12 minutes with stops at 59th and 86th Streets.

When you have a chance, ride the front end of one of the mu trains or push pulls that does not have a full-width cab and lets you look out the front of the train-door window, and you will learn why it requires 10 minutes.

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