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The train station that does not exist

December 15, 2011 2:42:35 PM PST
It is the most historic train station in this country, according to Dan Brucker, Grand Central Terminal Historian, but to millions of people who come through Grand Central each day, it does not exist. Getting to this top secret location is nearly impossible, unless you are escorted by Brucker.

"Even if you look at a track chart, it is not there," he said.

You may catch a glimpse of it while riding on a train, but no one will confirm it is there. That is because this undisclosed area, in the event of an emergency, is still a viable escape route for top dignitaries, including the President.

And that's the common thread. This armored car is part of a train that was specifically built for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, something that was confirmed in confidential papers from 1944.

At the time, the White House went to great lengths to hide the fact the president, who had polio, was in a wheelchair.

"By the time that train got into the tunnels here at Grand Central he would be sitting inside of his pierce arrow limousine that was inside that train car," Brucker said.

The limo would then drive through extra wide doors and right into this special elevator, which would then take the president up into the Waldorf. Brucker says all of this came to light seven years ago when the secret service declassified certain documents.

"The steel plates where vents should be, they pop out at the hit of a gun and form gun turrets," he said.

Also unusual about the train is its suspension. It was designed so to eliminate side to side motion and only moves up and down so that the president would remain stable.

There are no plans to restore or move this train, Brucker believes appropriate for it and the entire station.

"They are both sort of aging together in a sort of dark but gracious way, protected hidden and let it be that way," he said.

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