- LocationManhattan, Queens
- TypeSystem Expansion
- 1998: Decision made to complete the East Side Access project
- 2001: Environmental Impact Statement approved
- 2001: Construction began
- 2007: Tunneling construction began in Manhattan and Queens
- December 2022: East Side Access will open for service
About the project
East Side Access is the first expansion of Long Island Rail Road in more than 100 years. When the railroad was first built, 37,000 people lived on Long Island. Now 2.8 million people live there.
To support that growing population, all 11 Long Island Rail Road lines will connect to Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station. This will save commuters to Manhattan’s East Side up to 40 minutes of travel time per day.
Up to half of Long Island commuters are expected to go to Grand Central, so there will be less crowding at Penn Station and the surrounding subway lines. East Side Access will also create a faster connection to JFK Airport. It will increase peak hour capacity, and — in combination with the Double Track and LIRR Expansion Project — it will make true reverse commuting between Manhattan and Long Island a reality.
When the project is complete, trains at Harold Interlocking, a railroad junction that serves both Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road, will be able to pass through more efficiently. This will benefit travelers all along the Northeast Corridor. The project will also expand and strengthen the regional rail network, protecting it from future transportation crises.
A direct connection for all 11 LIRR lines to Grand Central Terminal and Midtown East
A new, 350,000-square-foot terminal with spacious waiting areas, retail and restaurants, real-time departure information, and free Wi-Fi
Over 160,000 passengers per day will save as much as 40 minutes on their trips
Two new tunnels that will increase train capacity to and from Manhattan by 50%
Less crowding at Penn Station
Improvements to and expansion of Harold Interlocking, a critical piece of the Northeast Corridor