WHAT IS UNDERNEATH GRAND CENTRAL? This video shows the huge room under Grand Central which is separated from the concourse by ten stories of solid rock. The room is almost as large as the concourse above. In it are 9 enormous rotary converters which transformed alternating current into the direct current which powered the over 2000 miles of the Northeast rail system. Placing the converters underground made it possible to have more space above ground to build skyscrapers. The placement was part of the engineering wonder that is Grand Central. This article by Barbara Maranzani on the History website points out that one purpose of building the new Grand Central was to convert the railroad from steam, with its related soot and smog, to electricity. Section 3 of the article points out that Grand Central was one of the world’s first all-electric buildings. And the ramps which we still use so often were another innovation, making it easier for passengers with luggage.

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