AFTER LEAVING 33 STREET station, the original IRT route proceeded up Park Avenue South until just before 42nd Street, and then curved left to enter the Grand Central subway station, at 42nd Street near Madison Avenue. The subway route through this curve passed through the foundation of the new Hotel Belmont (the same Belmont of the IRT). Grand Central was an express station, but unlike Brooklyn Bridge and 14 Street Stations, there were no side local platforms, only two island platforms that were used for both express and local trains. In 1918, the east side portion of the original route was extended north beyond Grand Central and the west side part was extended south of Times Square, creating today's arrangement, and the segment under 42 Street became a shuttle.
IN ORDER TO INCREASE the number of tracks the shuttle could be used on (since Times Square was a local station, the express tracks could not be reached from the platforms), what was once the downtown express track was covered over with a platform at both ends, so that the three remaining tracks could be accessed from both Grand Central and Times Square stations. Some of the corridor between what is now the Grand Central shuttle platform and the 4/5/6 trains was the original right of way of the subway line as it curved into Grand Central. By looking out the front window of an uptown 6 train between 33 Street and Grand Central, one can see where the train originally curved up and to the left; some of that area is now used as the Grand Central control tower. In the 1960's, there was a devastating fire at the Grand Central shuttle platform, so intense that some steel beams buckled, causing a partial street collapse above. All of the original 1904 wall treatment was lost, and replaced with a 1960's style decor. There is some original brick left on the two staircases that lead upstairs right before the corridor to the 4/5/6 trains begins.
|33 Street||Times Square|
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