4. The Missing Track 3

Grand Central shuttle tracks in Times Square subway station

Riders taking the shuttle from Times Square to Grand Central Terminal may be perplexed to notice that the tracks are numbered 1, 3 and 4. There is no Track 2. This is because what would have been Track 2 was covered over to make a platform for Track 3. When the station was originally built, there were two local and two express tracks. Track 2 was a downtown express track on which trains would bypass Times Square station. Track 3 was the former northbound track, while Tracks 1 and 4 were local tracks.

These tracks offered a continuous ride north from the very first station at City Hall Station to the terminus at 145th Street and back again until 1918. At that time, Track 3 was converted from an express track to an additional local shuttle track between Times Square and Grand Central Terminal. Track 2 was covered over, originally by a wooden platform which was replaced by a concrete one decades later, so riders could access the newly local Track 3. You can still see the path that the original four tracks would have taken if you walk to the end of the platform. There are four distinct arches that run almost perpendicular to current tracks, and show the curved paths the original lines once traveled. While two of the three shuttle tracks terminate here, you can actually see that Track 4 continues on and connects to the northbound track of the 1 train. The track is currently spanned by a pedestrian bridge and trains do not usually continue through that way.