MTA Press Releases

Press Release
August 2, 2019
MTA to Transform 42 St Shuttle to Provide Better Service, Fully Accessible Crosstown Transit Connection

Redesigned Times Square Terminal, Reconfigured Grand Central Platform to Add 20 Percent Peak-Hour Capacity, Allow Longer Trains; Complete Final Piece of Accessibility at Times Sq-42 St

42 St Shuttle to Continue Operation with Minor Service Changes Through Construction; Work Set to Start August 16

Historical Photos of the 42 St Shuttle are Available Here


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that the 42 St Shuttle, which moves thousands of customers between the subway system’s two busiest stations, will undergo a historic transformation that includes replacing the Times Square Shuttle terminal with a larger and accessible station, reconfiguring platforms at Grand Central, and modernizing shuttle train operations. The project will result in a 42 St Shuttle that is fully accessible, has more capacity and is easier for customers to use.

Work to modernize the 42 St Shuttle, which is over 100 years old and is part of the original 1904 subway system, is scheduled to run from August 16, 2019, through 2022. The 42 St Shuttle service will continue operating during a multi-phased construction timeline, with only minor service reductions scheduled to minimize customer impact and changes to arrival tracks. Additional information is posted on the project website,  

“Making our system accessible and easier to use for all New Yorkers is essential to modernizing the MTA, and this 42 St Shuttle transformation project is another example of our progress. Instead of simply fixing the most urgent conditions, we’re taking this opportunity to truly transform the 42 St Shuttle,” said MTA Managing Director Veronique Hakim. “The project will allow the MTA to move more people, run longer trains and simplify transfers for customers between the city’s busiest transit hubs. We’re making crossing Midtown Manhattan quicker and easier for millions of customers.”

More than 100,000 customers use the 42 St Shuttle daily. During peak hours, approximately 10,00 customers use the Shuttle to travel crosstown between the subway system’s two largest station complexes. Operating at all hours except overnights, the 42 St Shuttle provides access to Metro-North Railroad’s Grand Central Terminal and commuter and intercity bus service at 42 St-Port Authority Bus Terminal, and serves popular tourist destinations near both stations. It currently operates on tracks and stations built 115 years ago as part of New York City’s first subway line, which ran from City Hall across 42nd Street to Harlem. The track segment along 42nd Street was later repurposed as the existing crosstown 42 St Shuttle.

The project will modernize every aspect of the 42 St Shuttle, from the track operations and signaling to accessible platforms and new station entrances, including:


  • Expanding current 4-car train length to 6-car trains: The consolidated track operation will also allow longer 6-car trains to enter the terminals, increasing total peak-hour capacity on trains by 20 percent
  • Centralizing the three-track operation to two tracks on one platform: This will make it easier for customers to identify and get to the next arriving train
  • Reconfiguring the current operation from three tracks on a curve to two straight tracks: This will eliminate large platform gaps, making the shuttle fully accessible for mobility-impaired customers, including wheelchair users, and increasing overall platform safety
  • Replacing the current signal system, which dates back to the 1930s, with new modern signals
  • Upgrading the terminal’s electrical infrastructure and adding new crew facilities


At the 42 St Shuttle’s Times Square terminal:

The Shuttle platforms are the last remaining area of the Times Sq-42 St Station complex to be updated for accessibility. Improvements include:

  • Building a new ADA-compliant terminal with a single, centralized platform: To be rebuilt within the existing tunnel structure for the 42 St Shuttle, the terminal will have a new island platform for a centralized two-track operation
  • Expanding and streamlining the platform architecture: The new platform will be twice as wide as the current platform, measuring 315 feet long and 28 feet across, with fewer station columns to improve sightlines, customer flow and wheelchair accessibility
  • Adding a new station entrance: A 15-feet wide station staircase with custom station signage and a glass canopy will be installed as part of the One Times Square redevelopment. The One Times Square project also includes a new station elevator provided and maintained by the developer
  • Adding a new, modern turnstile area: This spacious mezzanine will have new LED lighting, glass barriers and new digital screens that provide a large station entrance for Times Square customers
  • Station upgrades throughout: New walls, paint, signage and brighter, more energy-efficient LED lighting
  • Adding new crew rooms and reconfiguring the employee facility area with an emergency-only exit redesigned from a small 310-square-feet station exit near the NYPD’s Times Square substation


At the 42 St Shuttle’s Grand Central terminal:

  • Reconfiguring platforms into one island platform: The new platform will be nearly 22,000 square feet — one of the largest platforms in the entire subway system
  • Building a new staircase: A 15-feet wide platform staircase will replace smaller stairs at the western end of the terminal to help customers get in and out of the platform area faster


Construction will be scheduled in multiple phases to minimize service impacts and customer inconvenience. Throughout the project, some crowding is expected during peak travel times in the morning and afternoon. As the construction moves forward, new service changes will be posted and announced at affected stations and on trains to give customers time to plan ahead.

Ahead of the construction start, the MTA conducted public outreach to provide notice to the affected stakeholders, and will continue to provide project updates. Customers are advised to:

  • Plan for a few extra minutes of travel time during peak times
  • Consider taking the 7 Subway train, which also serves the Times Sq-42 St and Grand Central-42 St stations


Approximately 640,000 customers pass through the Times Sq-42 St station complex and approximately 490,000 customers use the Grand Central-42 St subway complex each weekday, making them the two busiest stations in the subway system.

For more information about the 42 St Shuttle accessibility and modernization project and service changes, visit or follow #42StShuttle or @NYCTSubway on Twitter for updates.