Centennial Sisters: Hsinchu Railway Station and Grand Central Terminal sign “Sister Stations” agreement as both stations celebrate 100 years of service


Centennial Sisters: Hsinchu Railway Station and Grand Central Terminal sign “Sister Stations” agreement as both stations celebrate 100 years of service




Taiwanese and New York delegations meet at MTA Midtown Headquarters to establish “Sister Relations” between Hsinchu Railway Station and Grand Central Terminal and celebrate both stations’ centennials. From right: Hsinchu City Mayor Hsu Ming-tsai, Hsinchu Railway Station General Director Huang Rong-hua, Grand Central Station Services Director Steve Cupelli, Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut, Ambassador Andrew Kao from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, and Hsinchu City Vice Chairman Sun Yang-chou.


On August 16, 2013, representatives from Hsinchu, Taiwan, met with their counterparts from Grand Central Terminal and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to designate Grand Central Terminal and Hsinchu Station as “Sister Stations.” At 11am in the MTA Board Room at 347 Madison Avenue, Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut and Director of Grand Central Terminal Services Steve Cupelli joined Ambassador Andrew Kao from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, Hsinchu Mayor Hsu Ming-tsai, and Hsinchu Train Station General Director Huang Rong-hua to hear presentations on each station’s history and officially establish the “Sister Station” relations with a signing ceremony. The event held special significance, as both stations are celebrating their centennials this year.


The program began with introductions of the signatories and an exchange of gifts. Both parties expressed excitement about the opportunity to meet their foreign counterparts and learn more about the one hundred years of international railway history that the two stations share.


Mayor Hsu gave the first formal presentation. He opened with an outline of the station’s history, tracing its life from its 1913 construction under Japanese colonial rule to its current position as a transportation hub and cultural landmark of Hsinchu City. Mayor Hsu emphasized the influence of Baroque architecture on the station’s designer and pointed to the four-sided clock that tops the building’s façade as a symbol of the station’s elegance. Like Grand Central, Hsinchu Station continues to serve its city’s train system, helping 40,000 people travel every day.


After Mayor Hsu finished his discussion, Mr. Dan Brucker, an expert in Grand Central Terminal’s history, delivered the presentation for his side’s station. As he explained, Grand Central Terminal brought more than rail service to Midtown Manhattan; the station’s development helped cultivate the growth of the city around it. After World War Two, Grand Central lost much of its early splendor as it fell into a state of disrepair. As the federal government subsidized the construction of airports and interstate highways, railroad development fell to the wayside. It was not until 1983, when MTA assumed control of Grand Central, that a massive restoration project renewed the station’s former elegance and reestablished it as a cultural and commercial center in New York City.


Following the station presentations, Ambassador Kao and Mr. Permut each gave some brief remarks. Both men underscored the importance of “Sister Station” relations as a means of promoting cultural exchange, not only between Hsinchu Station and Grand Central Terminal, but also between Taiwan and the United States in general. Mr. Permut said he was honored by the Hsinchu delegation’s visit. Mayor Hsu, who was visiting New York for the first time, said that he and his team were grateful for the warm reception they had received and that they were delighted to finally see the city.


The signing ceremony began at approximately 11:20am. Ambassador Kao, Mayor Hsu, Mr. Permut, and Mr. Cupelli all signed the “Sister Station Agreement” with special glass pens brought from Hsinchu, a city known for its glasswork in addition to its flourishing high-tech manufacturing industries (the city’s science park is the second largest in the world, the largest being Silicon Valley in California).