Grand Central Terminal

A Grand Place.

Often mistakenly called Grand Central Station, this former railroad terminal is now the home to the Metro Link Metro North commuter railroad and sees heavy use.  It has to be seen to be believed, it is quite an architectural marvel and a feat of engineering.  There are no railroad tracks visible anywhere near the station, instead all trains enter the terminal via several miles of tunnels under Central Park Park Avenue that begin just past Harlem.


After the Train Show was wrapped up in Hartford, we rented a car and headed to New York City for a few days.  We ended up staying in White Plains, which is about 25 minutes outside of Manhattan.  We stayed at a hotel there and took the Metro Link into Grand Central Terminal everyday.  This is the best way to get in and out of the city, as driving around there is not for the faint of heart, plus we got to take a train into this historic terminal.


The famous clock in Grand Central.  The faces on this are made of Opal, the clock is valued between 10-20 million dollars.


Apparently only 40% of the traffic through here is commuters, the rest are tourists.


I looked, there wasn’t a single light bulb burned out.


Micheal Jordan’s steakhouse.  I think Micheal was in the back preparing the steaks.


The ceiling has to be seen to be believed.  I would guess the height of the ceiling to be at least 100′.  I pumped up the contrast in this picture to reveal all the panels.  Apparently when the station underwent a 450 million dollar renovation in the 1990’s the ceiling was quite black.  It was assumed that the blackening was from the coal smoke from the steam trains, but after analysis it was determined to be the smoke from cigarettes.


I just could not get any shots without people.




Looking into the Oyster Bar restaurant.


The grill to the air vent.  No detail is overlooked.


The food court below the main station.







HDR image of one of the entrances to the main terminal.


Its quite a place, fortunately it was spared from the numerous attempts to tear it down.  Unlike Penn Station, it was spared and completely restored.  Its only use now is for commuter trains, and used it is!


About the Author:

I'm your host, Tim Warris, a product developer in Port Dover, Ontario. Since March of 2007 I have been documenting the construction of the former CNJ Bronx Terminal in HO scale. For my day job, I design track building tools for Fast Tracks, a small company I own and operate. Fast Tracks makes it fast and easy to hand lay your own trackwork. Stop by our website to learn more!

Posted by: Tim | 07-26-2009 | 11:07 AM
Posted in: 2009 NMRA Train Show - Hartford | Latest Posts


  1. The way to get pictures without people is to take fairly long time exposures. That way, they move and don’t show up in the picture–or at least their presence is much greatly reduced.


    Comment by Jongl — July 26, 2009 @ 1:50 pm
  2. Hi Tim,

    Nice photos from your visit to Grand Central – it is a splendid building. Just came across a podcast about the its history, restoration, and role in the birth of landmark preservation on Open House New York: http://www.ohny.org/weekend/podcasts.cfm#manhattan.


    Comment by Johannes — July 27, 2009 @ 7:31 am
  3. Wonderful photos of Grand Central. It is indeed a beautiful building and public space. Nearby New Haven, CT station has also been restored, although no where near as grand. One nice touch in New Haven are O scale models of various trains that ran on the NYNY&H RR.

    One nit, the commuter line from GCT is Metro NORTH. Metrolink commuter trains serve Los Angeles, California.

    Best regards;


    Comment by Pieter Roos — August 3, 2009 @ 7:54 pm
  4. I love your close up photos of the extrodinary details of Grand Central, but as an ex-New Yorker, I have to correct one glaring error in your write-up – the train tunnels leading to the Terminal do not run under Central Park but run under Park Avenue (two blocks east of the park). Take a look at google earth and you wil see the tracks emerge from uderground just north of 97th Street.


    Comment by Bill H. — August 11, 2009 @ 5:00 pm
  5. Hi Tim:

    As a New Yorker, I am so fortunate to have Grand Central so close. I remember traveling through there as a kid and the place was filthy, dangerous and a haven for the homeless, winos and other sketchy people. Were it not for the efforts of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, the place surely would have gone the way of Penn Station. Now, it truly is a great destination with lots to offer, if nothing more than to marvel at its beauty.

    Not sure if you noticed, but in the northwest corner of the ceiling, a small patch was left unrestored and the contrast is stunning. Also, I understand that the star pattern is actually a mirror image of what it should look like.

    Comment by Jeff G. — August 13, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

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