New York City has rail links with the rest of the country and the city is home to two major train stations which are located on the island of Manhattan. The imposing Grand Central Station which is located on the east side of the city at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue and the Penn Station Terminal which extends over 32nd and 33rd street between 7th and 8th Avenues.

The Grand Central Station plays host to the Metro North Railway which connects New York City to locations in seven counties of New York State – Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester, Bronx, New York (Manhattan), Rockland, and Fairfield and New Haven in Connecticut. The Metro North Railway Line has three main lines which operate east of the Hudson River – the Hudson, the Harlem and the New Haven lines which operate to and from Grand Central Station and carry millions of commuters in and out of Manhattan daily. The Metro North rail road also has two lines that operate west of the Hudson River – the Port Jervis and the Pascack Valley lines that operate out of New Jersey Transit’s terminal in Hoboken, N.J., and connect to the service out of Penn Station, NY via the Secaucus Transfer.

The Metro North Service operates for nearly 24 hours and the first train pulls into Grand Central at 5.30am while the last train leaves from Grand Central at 2am. During peak hours (5am and 10 am) these trains run every twenty to thirty minutes while during off peak hours they run every 30-60 minutes and on the weekends they run on an hourly schedule. You can buy tickets for the Metro North Rail road at the ticket offices located at Grand Central Terminal, at self service kiosks located at the station, on the trains themselves and on the web (http://mta.info/mnr/html/planning/fares/fares.htm).

New York City’s Penn Station is an extremely busy station that is served by the Amtrak Train service (the USA’s main interstate rail service), the NJ transit trains (New Jersey’s rail service) the PATH train, an underground rail service that connects Manhattan to locations in New Jersey and the Long Island Rail Road which is one of the busiest commuter rail services in North America.

The Long Island Rail Road which has 11 different lines connects Manhattan to Montauk which is located on the eastern tip of Long Island in New York State. The LIRR serves nearly 124 stations located in Nassau and Suffolk counties in Long Island as well as the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. More than half of the railroad’s trains originate and terminate at Penn Station. The LIRR transports millions of commuters to and from Manhattan daily. This railroad is also used by New Yorkers extensively in the summer months to access the many gorgeous beaches like Jones Beach which are located on Long Island.

Tickets for the various rail services at Penn Station can be bought at the station windows, at the self service kiosks and on the web. For NJ transit trains and LIRR trains you can even buy your tickets on the trains. The NJ transit train service connects Penn Station to Newark airport in New Jersey and this service is used by numerous travelers everyday as it is much more reasonable than taking a taxi to the airport.

The PATH train is another underground rail service that connects Northern New Jersey with Manhattan. The PATH train has a major hub at 33rd Street and 6th avenue which can be accessed from within Penn Station.

The PATH can be accessed by using a pre-paid card which is different from the MetroCard that is used on the subways and buses in New York City. The PATH train service offers another stored value card called the Smart Link card which is available in various denominations. A single ride on the PATH train service currently costs $1.75. The PATH train serves several stations located in downtown Manhattan and also offers a direct connection to Newark airport.

For more information about schedules and tickets for these various services do visit the following websites:

Long Island Rail Road http://www.mta.info/lirr/

Penn Station http://www.transitcenter.com/TRANSITGUIDE/hub_nyp.htm

PATH Trains http://www.panynj.gov/path/index.html

These trains transport millions of people who live in the suburbs of New York City into the city everyday. Many New Yorkers choose not to own a car in the city and hence use these train services to travel to locales outside the city for work or pleasure trips.

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