Grand Central Station's clocks are a minute off

Here's The Atlantic on how New York's busiest train station helps commuters get there in time: by giving them an extra minute: "The idea is that passengers rushing to catch trains they're about to miss can actually be dangerous -- to themselves, and to each other. So conductors will pull out of the station exactly one minute after their trains' posted departure times."


  1. Huh? The first thing I do when I enter a train station is check the clock and the times. If a whole MINUTE had been swallowed by my journey, I’d start running.

    Unless it’s intended for regular travellers, to convince them that they need to be setting off earlier to get to the station in the future.

    1. From the article, it sounds like the clocks are accurate. It’s just the schedule that is deliberately a minute early (or conversely, the trains a minute late).

    1. That feeling when you see the doors close and the button won’t open them. You stare at the passengers inside, knowing that if you were a mere couple of feet away you would be on time for work. A whole minute passes, maybe more. The passengers inside stare back at you. They know.

      Still, that’s not as bad an airport bus we bought tickets for in Germany. We arrived 15 minutes early but it had already left, so we had to take a 75 km taxi ride in order to catch our plane.

      1. Bad enough getting to work, I rather think the reverse is worse – knowing you’re going to lose 15 or 45 minutes of your life sitting on the platform or a shitty cafe in Swindon station.  

        1. How about this one? Coming back from work with your bike, and the train manager has forgotten to open the door for you again, even though you got a bike pass and reminded him. You see the platform of Stoke station passing in front of your eyes, knowing that it’s 8 pm and the next stop is London Euston.

  2. How does the train leaving one minute after the posted departure time prevent passengers from rushing to catch trains they believe will be leaving at the posted departure time?

  3. What did they said about Mussolini? At least he made the trains run on time. None of this 59 second late bullshit! What ever happened to that guy anyway?

  4. It’s grand central TERMINAL!

    You need to brush up on your action movies. (Inside Man, if I remember correctly. May have been one of the Die Hard movies.)


  5. Having missed trains by a matter of seconds both at Grand Central and Penn Station, I’m not sure if this makes me feel any better.

  6. If you leap on to the train after it’s already in motion, they actually stop the train to throw you off.  If you manage to do it just as the train’s entering the exit tunnel, they back the train up to throw you off, verbally abusing you the while.

    Or at least that’s what they did 16 years ago, which was the first and last time I did it.

    Damn movies steered me wrong again.

  7. Whereas in Japan the trains are on time down to the second. If a train is set to arrive at 12:16 the first car makes contact with the stretch of track connected to the station platform at the very moment the clock tips from 12:15 to 12:16. It’s magical.

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