Sunnyside Yard

Coordinates: 40°44′59″N 73°55′37.37″W / 40.74972°N 73.9270472°W / 40.74972; -73.9270472

Sunnyside Yard is a large coach yard, a railroad yard for passenger cars, in Sunnyside, Queens in New York City.

Southern part of Sunnyside Yard looking east from Queens Boulevard overpass
Former power plant
Harold Tower, from which the main line alongside the yard was formerly controlled
The yard at dusk from the east; Citigroup Building in background left


The yard is owned by Amtrak and is also used by New Jersey Transit. The shared tracks of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Main Line and Amtrak's Northeast Corridor pass along the southern edge of the yard. Northeast of the yard a balloon track (or reverse loop) is used for "U-turning" Amtrak and NJ Transit trains which terminate at Penn Station. Leading eastward near the south side of the yard, this balloon track switches off and turns left under the LIRR/Amtrak tracks, turns left once again, and merges with the Sunnyside yard track to turn the train west toward Penn Station.


The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) completed construction of the yard in 1910.[1]:93 At that time Sunnyside was the largest coach yard in the world, occupying 192 acres (0.78 km2) and containing 25.7 mi (41.4 km) of track.[1]:76 The yard served as the main train storage and service point for PRR trains serving New York City. It is connected to Pennsylvania Station in Midtown Manhattan by the East River Tunnels. The Sunnyside North Yard initially had 45 tracks with a capacity of 526 cars. The South Yard had 45 tracks with a 552 car capacity.[1]:93


East Side Access projectEdit

Plans for the East Side Access project to Grand Central Terminal call for some LIRR trains to diverge from the main line and travel through a tunnel under the yard. The project would also create a new station at Queens Boulevard, named Sunnyside.

Harold InterlockingEdit

In May 2011, a $294.7 million federal grant was awarded to address congestion at Harold Interlocking, the United States' busiest rail junction, which is part of the yard. The work will allow for dedicated tracks to the Hell Gate Line right of way for Amtrak trains arriving from or bound for New England, thus avoiding NJT and LIRR traffic.[2][3]

Housing developmentEdit

In 2017 it was announced that the city would begin a feasibility study into the construction of 21,000 to 31,000 units of housing on top of the rail yard. The project, which would be similar to the Hudson Yards development over West Side Yard, has stoked public controversy.[4][5] In early 2020, Amtrak and the city government published a master plan. The plan called for building a deck over Sunnyside Yard and constructing 12,000 housing units, all of which would be affordable housing, as well as 60 acres (24 ha) of parks and public plazas.[6][7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Couper, William, ed. (1912). History of the Engineering, Construction and Equipment of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company's New York Terminal and Approaches. New York: Isaac H. Blanchard Co. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
  2. ^ "Maloney Hails Federal Grant to Ease Amtrak Delays in NYC, Spur High-Speed Rail in NE Corridor - $294.7 Million Grant to Improve "Harold Interlocking", a Delay-Plagued Junction For Trains in the NE Corridor". Congresswoman Carolyn T. Maloney. May 9, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  3. ^ Colvin, Jill (May 9, 2011). "New York Awarded $350 Million for High-Speed Rail Projects". Archived from the original on May 13, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  4. ^ Ludovici, Derek. "The Dark Side of Sunnyside Yards". The Indypendent. The Indypendent.
  5. ^ Stapinski, Helene (2018-08-16). "Is a Rail Yard in Queens the Site of New York's Next Mega-Development?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-03-07.
  6. ^ "City releases long-term Sunnyside Yard Master Plan promising new public transit and 100 percent affordable housing". 2020-03-03. Retrieved 2020-03-07.
  7. ^ "Economic Development Corp Unveils Sunnyside Yard Master Plan". The Real Deal New York. 2020-03-03. Retrieved 2020-03-07.

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