The East Side Access Tunnel trip was incredibly fascinating and I learned so much. To reiterate, the East Side Access is a project connecting the LIRR to Grand Central Station. The LIRR only goes to Penn Station, which leaves many commuters with a long journey to work. Creating this project by adding three new tracks that will use the 63rd street tunnel, which was built in the late 60s and 70s and nicknamed the ‘tunnel to nowhere,’ even though it will be serving this project. The F train uses the two upper tracks of the tunnel, while the lower two tracks have been unused. They will be used by the East Side Access trains once this project is completed.
We first toured the Queens side, which is less complete. The Queens side is more complicated then the Manhattan side because they water table is only 10 feet below ground, which Manhattan is solid rock. They are working on finishing excavating the tunnels and then connecting them in the break section. We didn’t get a chance to see an actual tunnel boring machine (TBM) since our tour was running late. The TBM’s are apparently ginormous and its job is to excavate a circular cross-section. The excavation is then lined with gigantic concrete slabs, which serve as the basis of the tunnel. There’s about 2,400 workers and the project has been in progress for 10 years. Completion is not expected until 2019, mostly due to financial and budgeting problems. There has only been 1 death in
When we went to the Manhattan side, my best comparison is to an alien planet. It’s super dark and dusty, and completely muddy. The temporary lights only illuminate sections being worked on, and in every direction you can see the eerie glow of them, and some huge machine tearing through dirt, or drilling, or something else that needs to be done.
My editor called me into his office today to talk about a little field trip I get to go on.
For years, the LIRR and MTA have been working on creating an East Side Access Tunnel. Lots of Long Island commuters work on the east side of NYC but have to go all the way to the west side of the city to Penn Station because there is no stop before then.
The East Side Access Tunnel will stop of course on the east side, and then I believe direct to Grand Central Station.
The LIRR/MTA have invited my paper to tour the tunnels in progress, which are not expected to be completed until 2019.
So on June 27th I get the opportunity to tour the tunnel. This is a privilege! Few people have ever gone down there besides the workers.
I’m truly blessed!
And on June 30th I’m going sky diving for the first time, but that is a present my sister and brother chipped in for. Spectacular.
I feel really comfortable here and am so grateful to have found this internship. Now back to work! 😛