Volume 1 Issue 1: Fall 2018
LETTER FROM PHIL ENG

Welcome to the premiere issue of Next Stop: Grand Central Terminal. This new, quarterly employee newsletter will highlight important milestones and keep you informed of the significant progress being made each day on the East Side Access project. With an expected completion date of December 2022, it won’t be long before the first LIRR trains glide into their brand-new terminal below Grand Central, diminishing congestion at Penn Station, shortening commuting times, and improving service.

We should all be proud to be part of the LIRR as this marvel of engineering moves forward, and prepare for the transformative changes it will bring to our operation and the service we provide to our customers. I appreciate the hard work being performed by the ESA team as well as the many LIRR employees who have contributed their efforts and expertise to its continued progress.

Sincerely,
Phil

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

East Side Access Overview 
As small groups of Long Island Rail Road employees don protective gear for guided tours of East Side Access progress...

Read More

Profile: Mike Magro 
When Mike Magro, Principal Engineer of Signal Construction for East Side Access, signs off on design reviews from the dozen or so...

Read More

Did You Know? 
The 63rd Street Tunnel is located in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. Construction of the 63rd Street Tunnel began on...

Read More

MTA LIRR East Side Access Update – September 2018 
To watch a video on the progress of East Side Access, click here.

EAST SIDE ACCESS OVERVIEW


One of the tunnels to GCT with track and utilities installed. courtesy: amodernli.com
As small groups of Long Island Rail Road employees don protective gear for guided tours of East Side Access progress, the reaction is usually the same – amazement. They are witness to an unprecedented transformational change where the past will soon meet the future in a multi-level, state-of-the-art hub that will serve commuters from New York City, Long Island, Westchester and beyond.

East Side Access, one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects currently underway in the United States, will provide direct LIRR service into a new concourse below Grand Central Terminal on Manhattan’s East Side, reducing commutes into Manhattan by nearly 40 minutes. The project spans work in multiple locations throughout Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx and includes more than eleven miles of tunneling.

East Side Access is an integral component of the broader LIRR system expansion initiative to help reduce passenger crowding, train congestion and automobile traffic as well as provide connections with additional regional transportation options such as Metro North Railroad and the New York City Transit subway system. Passengers traveling from Midtown East will enjoy easier access to JFK International Airport via the AirTrain at LIRR’s Jamaica Station.

When completed, East Side Access is expected to serve approximately 162,000 customers a day, providing a faster and easier commute from Long Island and Queens to the east side of Manhattan in a new eight-track terminal and concourse below Grand Central Terminal.

Back to top


PROFILE: MIKE MAGRO


Mike Magro, Principal Engineer
of Signal Construction for East Side Access

When Mike Magro, Principal Engineer of Signal Construction for East Side Access, signs off on design reviews from the dozen or so East Side Access consulting and vendor construction firms, rest assured that every detail related to signal systems has been thoroughly vetted. His primary responsibility is to ensure that all signal equipment and construction activities comply with LIRR signal standards and contract specifications.
Specifically, Mike is the Principal Engineer of Signal Construction for Harold Interlocking, the Mid-Day Yard and the Grand Central Terminal Tunnels – all components of East Side Access. Mike attributes his success to the rigorous training and field experience he acquired over his 30-year career at the LIRR, 14 years of which have been spent planning, constructing and testing signals on the East Side Access project. He considers the work he’s done on ESA to be his greatest accomplishment. “This is the first time anywhere in North America that a project has been done in multiple stages within one software application, testing while still being able to run trains,” he says.

He takes pride in his ability to assess the feasibility of any request that comes his way – and there have been many. “It’s like being given a complex jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box and challenging yourself to figure it out,” he explains. As an example, Mike developed a plan to reduce pre-testing time, skipping two of the software stages for the remaining North side and South side cutovers and enabling the Northeast Quadrant work to begin on schedule.
A team of 36 employees are currently dedicated to signal construction. Many hold some of the same titles Mike held as he came up through the ranks. He attended technical school for Electronic Technology and was later hired by the LIRR where he was given Signal Training (Phase 1, 11 and 111) to qualify. His career progression at the LIRR is impressive. He became Signal Inspector, then an Assistant Foreman, a Foreman, a Supervisor, an Engineer and most recently advanced to Principal Engineer.

A native Long Islander and currently residing in Farmingdale, Mike understands the impact East Side Access will have for our customers and how it will transform the Long Island Rail Road and move it forward to the future.

Back to top


DID YOU KNOW?


Installed escalators in the 45th Street escalator wellway 07-26-2018 Manhattan
courtesy: amodernli.com
  • The 63rd Street Tunnel is located in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. Construction of the 63rd Street Tunnel began on November 24, 1969, and the tunnel was holed-through beneath Roosevelt Island on October 10, 1972. Completion of the tunnel and its connections was delayed by New York City’s fiscal crisis of the 1970s and it was not used in revenue service until 1989.

  • Four Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) were used for excavation in East Side Access: two for excavation in Manhattan and two in Queens. In Manhattan, where the geology consists mostly of hard rock, two hard rock Tunnel Boring Machines excavated the eastbound and westbound tunnels. In Queens, where the geology consists mostly of soil and rock, two pressurized-face Tunnel Boring Machines called Earth Pressure Balance machines excavated and supported the ground.

Back to top


PROGRESS VIDEO

Back to top