6. Grand Central Tunnel Train Accident, 1902

M42 basement
Inside the M42 Basement today

In 1902, a horrific accident in the Park Avenue tunnel in 1902 that would change the technology of train travel in the United States. Steam blocked sight lines in the tunnel out of Grand Central Station (the previous incarnation of the current terminal) and an express train from White Plains and a commuter train collided under 56th Street, becoming the worst train accident in New York City up to that point. Steam trains were banned in Manhattan starting in 1908 and the New York Central set out to find an alternative – which led to the introduction of electric trains. The mythic M42 basement in Grand Central Terminal is a re-outfitting of the former coal plant into an an electric power station.