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Grand Central Station Celebrating 100 years!

November 27, 2012 12:28:34 PM PST
Grand Central Station Centennial ! In 1831 the New York and Harlem Railroad were the first rail line formed in New York City. A year later it began to service to a station at Fourth Ave and 23rd St. In 1836 the New York and Harlem Railroad State was built and serviced the entire blocked bounded by 4th and Madison Avenues and 26th and 27th Streets.

A Railroad is formed

  • In the late 1830's the Hudson River Railroad was built precipitating the beginning of terminals, depots, freight houses, and passenger stations through the city.
  • In 1858 steam locomotives had been progressively banned from crowded areas and were no longer in service below 42nd Street.
  • In the 1860's Cornelius Vanderbilt purchased the Hudson River Railroad which then he created a link between Spuyten Duyvil and Mott Haven, allowing the Hudson River train to arrive at common east side terminal.
  • 1870's The Grand Central Station Terminal was expanding. Vanderbilt purchased property between 42nd and 48th streets, Lexington and Madison Avenue for construction of a new train depot and rail yard which would contain the first Grand Central.
As a new decade approaches so does new ideas, growth, and success for the Grand Central Station Terminal.

Grand Central Depot

  • Designed by John B. Snook, was built at a cost of $6.4 M.
  • It served three distinct rail lines - the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, New York and Harlem Railroad, and the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad.
  • Each line maintained its own waiting room, baggage facilities and ticketing operation at the station.
  • P.T. Barnum purchased the New York and Harlem Railroad station and converted it into Madison Square Garden, the first of several structures to share that historic name.


  • The Terminal's Characteristics

  • The Grand Central Stations Terminal most outstanding feature was it massive train shed
  • Created out of glass and steel, the 100- foot wide by 650-foot long structure challenged the Eiffel Tower and Crystal Palace for dominance as the most dramatic engineering achievement of the 19th century.
  • The modernized station also featured a unified 16,000 square foot waiting room, and distinctive decoration that included monumental cast-iron eagles with wingspans of 13-feet.


  • In 1902 the era of the steam locomotive was coming to an end. A devastating train collision in the Park Avenue tunnel on January 8th, 1902 killed seventeen people and injured thirty-eight, causing a public outcry and increasing demand for electric trains. One week after the horrific crash New York Central and Hudson River Railroad starting to become proactive and announced to the public that they are moving forward with the plans to improve the Park Avenue tunnel and expand Grand Central.

    Improvement, Development, and Growth of the Terminal

  • Chief engineer William J. Wilgus created a new double level terminal for electric trains.
  • Succeeding to the competition, New York architects Warren and Wetmore presented the selection committee with their own proposal for the terminal. Warren succeeded in his appeal.
  • The following year, Warren and Wetmore and Reed and Stem entered an agreement to act as the associated architects of Grand Central Terminal.
  • It took ten expensive years of excavation and construction. The railroad needed to invest in electrifying its rails, and carve deep into Manhattan's core.
  • The grade of the rail yard had been lowered to an average depth of 30 feet below street level.



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