MIDTOWN, Manhattan (PIX11) — It took years of construction, delays, and a limited trial period, but full Long Island Rail Road service finally arrived Monday morning at Midtown’s Grand Central Madison.

The first train under the full schedule arrived from Hempstead around 5:45 a.m., bringing with it a new era of New York City commuting.

The eight new tracks in the sprawling transit hub beneath Grand Central Terminal are expected to serve more than 160,000 commuters each day, increasing service levels by 41% and adding 274 trains to the daily schedule.

The addition will provide a direct link between Long Island and Manhattan’s East Side, while also reducing congestion at Penn Station.

The MTA has called the opening a dream decades in the making, now come true after delays for significant events, from the 9/11 terror attacks to Superstorm Sandy to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With a price tag north of $11 billion, Grand Central Madison first opened on a limited trial basis in late January with a connection to Jamaica.

Built inside a massive man-made cavern and served by rail tunnels carved through bedrock, the 700,000-square-foot station marks the first expansion of LIRR service in more than a century and is heralded as a key addition to the nation’s busiest railway network.

View the full Grand Central Madison schedule for all 11 LIRR branches here.