Iconic American Infrastructure: Grand Central Terminal

A central hub of transportation in the heart of the city

New York City

The hub was built by and named for the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad in the heyday of American long-distance passenger rail travel; it covers 48 acres and has 44 platforms, more than any other railroad station in the world.

The station was designed by John B. Snook and financed by Cornelius Vanderbilt. Grand Central Depot first opened in October 1871

Between 1899 and 1900, the head house was renovated extensively. It was expanded from three to six stories with an entirely new façade, and was designed by railroad architect Bradford Gilbert.

Between 1903 and 1913, the entire building was torn down in phases and replaced by the current Grand Central Terminal.

The construction project was extremely expansive. About 3,200,000 cubic yards of the ground was excavated at depths of up to 10 floors, with 1,000 cubic yards of debris being removed from the site on 300 cars every day.

Over 10,000 workers were assigned to put 118,597 short tons of steel and 33 miles of track inside the final structure.

At midnight on February 2, 1913, the new terminal was opened with the departure of a Boston Express train. Within sixteen hours, there were an estimated 150,000 visitors.

Today, its below-ground platforms serve 41 tracks on the upper level and 26 on the lower; however, the total number of tracks along platforms and in rail yards exceeds 100.

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