How to Find the LIRR at Grand Central Madison Concourse, NYC

A new transit station called Grand Central Madison Concourse has opened below Grand Central Terminal in Midtown, New York City extending the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). The train offers much-needed LIRR service between Jamaica Station in Queens to Grand Central. It just opened a few days ago so I decided to visit the station and check it out.

This connection is important for both Connecticut residents and Long Island commuters who wish to move between Manhattan and Long Island. It makes it much easier to travel from Connecticut to JFK Airport for example!

The new LIRR Grand Central Madison concourse is a welcome addition to New York City’s transportation infrastructure. The concourse, located in the heart of Manhattan, provides direct access to the Long Island Railroad and Metro North Railroad for commuters.

With the opening of the concourse, the LIRR and Metro North have become much more convenient for commuters traveling between the boroughs of New York City and Long Island. The concourse is designed to accommodate up to 14,000 passengers per hour and has expanded the capacity of Grand Central Station by 25%!

The concourse also features a modern, spacious waiting area, with plenty of seating, as well as a variety of retail outlets and restaurants. The new concourse is a great addition to the city, making it easier for travelers to journey between the east side of Midtown Manhattan and Long Island.

Grand Central Madison Entrances

You can enter the new Grand Central Madison concourse from the street or get to it from within Grand Central Station on Park Avenue.

47th St and Madison Avenue

The street entrance is found at 383 Madison Avenue on the south east corner of East 47th street. Inside there are escalators, but you can take the elevator outside the main entrance on 47th street if you need to.

47th St and Madison Ave Grand Central LIRR entrance street_IMG_8984

Grand Central Station Park Avenue

You can also reach the Grand Central Madison underground concourse from within Grand Central Station. In the central concourse, look for the stairs going down to the Dining Concourse.

Grand Central Station LIRR signs IMG_9007

If you’re transferring from the Metro North New Haven Line, you don’t need to go all the way up! You can simply make your way down the long ramp to the Dining Concourse.

Grand Central Station LIRR signs IMG_8959

You’ll see signs on the columns in the Dining Concourse directing you to the escalators. They are located towards the center of the entire space, near Luke’s Lobster Rolls.

Grand Central Station LIRR signs IMG_8960

Once you reach the middle of the Dining Concourse, you go down a set of escalators towards the Long Island Rail Road.

Grand Central Station LIRR signs IMG_8961

This is the same escalator, just another sign confirming that you are heading to the Madison Concourse!

Grand Central Station LIRR signs IMG_8962

Down we go. Bye Grand Central Terminal!

Grand Central Station LIRR signs IMG_8963

Grand Central Madison LIRR Concourse

At the bottom of the escalator, you will see a set of turquoise swing doors and a large “Long Island Rail Road” sign.

LIRR Grand Central Madison_IMG_8965

Then, you’ll need to go down a long tunnel to find the ticketing, police, and train tracks.

Grand Central Madison LIRR concourse IMG_8966

The signs on the wall will tell you when the next train is to Jamaica and what track to wait on. I was there mid-day and the trains were running every 30 minutes or so.

Grand Central Madison LIRR concourse IMG_8968

There’s a set of ticketing booths, restrooms, and police located in the central area.

LIRR Grand Central Madison_IMG_8971

When you’re ready to board, you have to go down another set of escalators. All in all, the Madison Concourse is actually 10 stories below ground!

Grand Central Madison LIRR concourse IMG_8970

I’m not going to lie, this escalator is extremely long and made me nauseous going down! Don’t look up or down while you ride it. I am pretty surprised it was designed this way as it seems like a huge safety risk. There are elevators located near the ticketing area if you prefer to go down that way.

Grand Central Madison LIRR concourse IMG_8974

Tracks 203, 204, 303, and 304 are all easily located. Double check that you’re going to the right track as it’s easy to confuse 203 and 302 in your memory as the numbers are so similar.

Grand Central Madison LIRR concourse IMG_8976

Everything is shiny and brand new!

Grand Central Madison LIRR concourse IMG_8977

To reach the tracks, you have to go down or up another escalator!

Grand Central Madison LIRR concourse IMG_8980

Finally, you’ll arrive at the tracks!

Grand Central Madison LIRR concourse IMG_8979

Grand Central Madison Map

Here is a Grand Central Madison Map for you to save if you need one!

Grand Central Madison Map_IMG_8967

Enjoy your trip through the brand new Grand Central Madison concourse!

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15 Comments

  1. Thank you for acknowledging the sheer length of those escalators down to the LIRR concourse. They make me nauseous and anxious! I’m always afraid I’ll pass out. I try to close my eyes going down or up, lol.

    I haven’t found the elevator — I usually don’t enter from 47th street. If you can have any pictures of it that would be superb!

    1. It’s just past the Ticketing counter area when you’re coming from Grand Central. I’ll try to snap a photo next time I pass through!

  2. So, is the 47th street entrance a shorter way to the ticketing booths and tracks? I found entering via the main entrance of Grand Central at 42nd street not the most pleasant experience while carrying a lot of luggage..
    (I hadn’t read this article at the time).

    1. The same thing happened to me. Even trying to get from Metro-North to the Long Island RR, when I was first leaving for my trip was a terrible experience. I was alone, had lots of luggage, struggling trying to get to JFK. I never had problems traveling to Grand Central then to different subways before, so it bothered me, even after my trip was over. I wanted to get to the bottom of this and was relieved discovering this area was very new. I wasn’t losing my mind after all.

  3. Hi CT This is a FABULOUS walk-through. I wish I’d read it before having a horrible time last week trying to catch the LIRR to Queens. I arrived at GCT half an hour before the departure time for my train (only 1 per hour to my station), and I STILL missed it. Between the ridiculous escalators (about 3 minutes each; I had a heavy shopping cart so couldn’t walk), the long distances on the various levels, and my getting lost several times, I was starting to feel that the platform might as well have been located in Wisconsin. Penn Station seemed MUCH closer.

    So I’ll allow for all this insanity the next time I try. Thanks to your article, the getting lost part won’t be a problem anymore.

    Take care,
    -Tim in Forest Hills

    1. Hi Tim! I agree, the area was poorly designed, especially once you go down the VERY long escalator which seems like a huge safety hazard if you ask me. If 1 careless person doesn’t pay attention to their suitcase, it could fall down and kill someone on the lower end of the escalator.

      In addition, many of the tracks are labeled very similarly: 203, 302, 303, etc. I actually mixed up these numbers once and ended up waiting on the wrong track, missing my train entirely! I wish the tracks had normal numbers like 12, 13, 14, etc. So yes, there are many design flaws. It’s not your fault at all! :)

      Victoria

  4. When you are riding LIRR from grand central terminal to Jamaica, is the uptown side of the platform back or of the train?

    1. No, the entrance is before the lost and found. In the lower dining concourse, the entrance is actually somewhat in the center, not on the outer walls.

  5. Can you buy tickets online? Can you buy a MetroCard to help with the before you get to the bottle neck at the Airtrain ticket area?

    1. You can buy tickets through the TrainTime app on your phone. Just select Grand Central and Jamaica as the origin/destinations.

      Yes, you need a yellow MetroCard to use the Airtrain.

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