The Clocks in Grand Central Station All Run a Minute Fast


Catching a train on time should be fairly easy considering that virtually everyone now carries a device in their pocket that is both synced to the internet and has a clock built into it. However, in reality, it’s not that simple, go to any train station in the world and you’ll likely see a person sprinting to catch a train they could have easily caught if they planned a little better. Since this can lead to accidents and unexpected foot races between the more competitive commuters, Grand Central Station has a unique way of slowing people down. All the clocks run a minute fast.

how much does everyone want to slide around in their socks in here?

How much does everyone want to slide around in their socks in here?

Though a minute doesn’t seem like a long time, it has the subconscious effect of slowing people right the hell down, why? Well this extra minute makes it feel like you have a little more time than you actually do, causing you to rush slightly less. You can argue about whether or not this is a good idea in the comment section if you’d like because the facts really do speak for themselves. GSC is statistically one of the safest stations in the world, so it obviously works somehow. Oh and to keep up the illusion, all of the train run a minute fast too, almost purely to give people trying to cut it fine the time they need to get to the train without body checking someone on the way. Science!


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1 Comment

  1. Actually, the clocks should be running a minute slow in order to achieve this. If they’re running fast, that means that at 2 o’clock, their clocks would show 2:01, making you a minute LATER for your train and just causing you to rush even more, not less. The “clock” thing is just a common misinterpretation. Although, there is some truth to the “rumor”. I’ve also heard the version that the clocks are right, but the departure boards are a minute off (if this were true, it would actually have the desired effect of slowing people down). The truth lies with the conductors. They’re the ones who are actually off by a minute. But, again, it’s a minute slow; not a minute fast. If a train is scheduled to depart at 10:53am, all conductors are instructed to leave at exactly 10:54am, 60 seconds after their scheduled departure. This is likely how the “clock rumor” got started. But, ask a Grand Central employee or anyone who’s ever been there and compared the clocks with the actual time, and you’ll find that not only are all the clocks in the building synched with each other, but they’re precisely and accurately right on time. Also, the practice of having conductors leave a minute late is not exclusive to Grand Central. That part of the rumor was due to the likely fact that Grand Central started the whole idea. But, several major train stations follow this practice, too.

    Side note: Grand Central is not a station and many employees actually take offense to it being called so. Nowhere in the building will you find the name “Grand Central Station”. It’s proper name is “Grand Central Terminal”. And, yes, there is a major difference between a terminal and a station.