METRO-NORTH TRAINS COMING TO THE UPPER WEST SIDE?

Metro-North has been eying a plan to bring train from the Hudson Valley to the West side of Manhattan and back again for decades, without any action. But those plans could start moving forward in the next few years, with train stations coming to the Upper West Side and near Columbia University.

The MTA is planning to put a West side train project in its 2014 long-term capital budget, Newsday recently reported. The project could be completed as early as 2019, although the agency will have to come up with “hundreds of millions of dollars” to make it happen.

The project would use existing Amtrak tracks along the Hudson River to take Metro-North trains on the Hudson line to Penn Station (see map below).

It’s not clear where the Upper West Side train station might go. A few years ago, Metro-North had discussed building a station at West 60th Street just off of Riverside Park as part of the new mega-development (5 apartment towers plus retail and a movie theater) set to rise there. But that plan fell apart, and the authority said it would look into possible sites at 72nd and 57th Streets. The map below appears to show a station around 57th or 59th Street and one at 125th. There will be a station at 125th, but the Upper West Side location “still hasn’t been determined,” an MTA spokesman told us.

The MTA has begun meeting with residents near the proposed stations, holding several open houses in the Bronx last year, to talk with them about the plan. The Bronx stations are part of the first phase of the Pen station plan, which entails bringing New Haven line trains through the Bronx to Penn station via Queens (the red line in the map below). The Upper West Side section is the second phase of the plan.

There will be “extensive public outreach” on the Upper West Side once the agency turns its attention to that part of the project, the MTA spokesman said. The agency is in the process of conducting environmental reviews:

“MTA Metro-North Railroad (Metro-North) has been preparing environmental analyses to examine the potential benefits and impacts associated with providing additional regional rail service within the New York Metropolitan Area from Metro-North’s east-of-Hudson service territory to Penn Station, New York, and the west side of Manhattan. Proposed Penn Station Access service would be provided primarily by using existing infrastructure, with some capital improvements. As part of the effort, six (6) new intermediate stations would be constructed: two (2) on the West Side of Manhattan and four (4) in the East Bronx.”

If it does get completed, Upper West Siders will no longer have to trudge over to Grand Central Station to catch trains that take them back up North again. The plan could also help businesses around the station, as upstaters come to the neighborhood to visit.

West Side Trains 11 2011 by

Photo by matt.hintsa.

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    1. Beth says:

      There used to be a station adjacent to the building that now houses the uptown Fairway. The building still exists but now houses a restaurant and a club. It wouldn’t be all that convenient but would have been a nice connection to the train services that ran through there in the past.

    2. denton says:

      yeah beth and when I was a kid the Bear Mountain Ferry stopped there also…

    3. Bruce Bernstein says:

      I think this would be great but according to the map, the West Side stations would only connect to the Hudson Line, not the New Haven and Harlem lines. We could go down to Penn Station for the New Haven line — still an improvement. For the Harlem line, it would still require a trip to Grand Central.

    4. Miriam says:

      Seems to me that they could stop the trains at Yankees-153rd St. so connections could be made to the Harlem and New Haven lines.

      They do it for Yankee games, so why not on non-game days, too?

    5. Liz says:

      I really like the idea. It would make it so much easier to get to Conn. I would love to avoid the hassle of getting from the Upper West Side to Grand Central.