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Rail News: Passenger Rail

MTA to begin Queens tunneling work


New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) officials have dedicated two tunnel boring machines that will create four tunnels under Sunnyside Yard in Queens, N.Y., as part of the East Side Access project.

The project will connect the tracks of a MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) mainline with the tunnel under the East River that leads to Grand Central Terminal (GCT). The tunnels, to be completed in October 2012, are the last to be built as part of the East Side Access project.

Each 642-ton machine has a 22-foot diameter cutterhead and is designed to cut through a mixture of sand, clay and boulders where the water table is high.

After completion of the overall project in 2016, LIRR trains traveling through Sunnyside will be able to travel to Pennsylvania Station or GCT. The project is designed to reduce daily commuting times by as much as 40 minutes.