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ICYMI: Metro-North at 40: The Oldest Young Railroad

Metro-North Railroad
Updated Jul 3, 2023 10:45 a.m.
MNR at 40

New Exhibit at the New York Transit Museum’s Grand Central Gallery Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the Metro-North Railroad


Metro-North Railroad turned 40 this year, but its historical roots go back to the earliest days of New York’s transportation network. It took extraordinary teamwork, grit, and determination to forge Metro-North from its many disparate parts and to successfully operate it over these past four decades. Now on view at Grand Central Terminal, the New York Transit Museum’s new exhibit, Metro-North at 40: The Oldest Young Railroad, explores the first 40 years of the Metro-North’s success. Along the way, the exhibit celebrates the people who made it happen and looks to the future.

“Forty years ago, Metro-North was formed amidst a sea of uncertainty but secure in the knowledge that New York needed reliable regional rail service” says New York Transit Museum Director Concetta Bencivenga. “Metro-North at 40 explores the incredible legacy of the railroads that were brought together and the people who made it happen; and begins to explore what Metro-North’s next chapter might look like.”

Metro-North at 40 traces the history of the second-busiest commuter rail in the United States all the way back to the early 19th century. The present-day lines that comprise Metro-North’s trackage are vestiges of some of the most important early American railroads, including the New York and Harlem Railroad, Hudson River Railroad, New York and New Haven Railroad, and Cornelius Vanderbilt’s New York Central and Hudson River Railroad. These rail routes spurred the development of suburban commuter towns that are today served by the Metro-North Railroad.

"As the five Metro-North presidents before me could attest, the journey to where we are now was not an easy one, but most definitely a rich and colorful one. This exhibit is a snapshot – actually many snapshots – of an institution whose determined employees lifted it from humble beginnings to one that consistently receives high marks in safety and customer satisfaction.” says MTA Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi.

Visitors to the New York Transit Museum’s Grand Central Gallery can view early plans for rapid transit, railroad maps, authentic station signage, photography from the Transit Museum’s vast collections, and artifacts including the Metro-North’s 1980s mission statement and flipboard panels replaced by digital technology in the 2000s. Metro-North at 40 visitors will even get to meet Metro-Man II, a friendly robot that was sent into communities to teach children about railroad safety.

“Halmar is delighted to sponsor this exhibit, which shows how investments in Metro-North’s infrastructure have benefited New Yorkers over the last four decades. We are fortunate to have had a hand in growing the region’s infrastructure with MNR over the years,” says Chris Larsen, CEO of Halmar International. “We are proud to partner with the Transit Museum to tell this story of the crucial role of mass transportation in the New York region.”

Metro-North at 40 is on view at the New York Transit Museum Gallery & Store at Grand Central Terminal. The Museum’s Gallery & Store are open Monday through Friday, 10am to 7:30pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm; and is closed on major holidays and for special events. It is located in the shuttle passage on 42nd Street and Park Avenue, adjacent to the Station Master’s Office, and is free to the public year-round. Plan your visit at nytransitmuseum.org/visit.


The New York Transit Museum is the largest museum in the United States devoted to urban public transportation history and one of the premier institutions of its kind in the world. Since its inception over forty years ago, the Museum – which is housed in a historic 1936 IND subway station in Downtown Brooklyn – has grown in scope and popularity. For nearly 25 years, the Transit Museum has also operated a Gallery & Store in Grand Central Terminal. To learn more, visit nytransitmuseum.org.

What:   Metro-North at 40: The Oldest Youngest Railroad

When:   Now on View

Where:  New York Transit Museum, Grand Central Gallery

Admission:  Free

More Info:  nytransitmuseum.org/exhibits