The greatest monuments In the great history of competition between railroad titans were New York City’s Pennsylvania Station, completed in 1903, and Grand Central Terminal, completed a decade later. Pennsylvania Station served the Pennsylvania Railroad, which operated intercity travel to Chicago and St. Louis, with connections to points further west. The station was designed by the esteemed architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, in a style referencing the great public buildings of ancient Rome. Not to be outdone, Cornelius Vanderbilt, who owned major stakes in the New York Central and New Haven Railroad, among others, financed the construction of a new Grand Central Terminal to outshine his primary competitor. With the decline of rail travel in the second half of the 20th century, the historic Penn Station was demolished and replaced by a new underground station, and Amtrak reduced intercity service to and from Grand Central Station in 1991, making it more of a locus for local commuters while most intercity passengers used the subterranean Penn Station. Now, with Amtrak forced to undertake extensive infrastructure repairs and improvements, it once again is re-routing trains to provide intercity travel from Grand Central. (Photo is in the public domain).
In a ‘Summer of Hell,’ Grand Central May Be a Bit of Heaven
By David W. Dunlap
The New York Times
July 5, 2017