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The most expensive train station in the world opens its doors in New York today

There will be no official ceremony to mark the opening of the station, next to the site of the Twin Towers.

1 A rendering of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, Oculus. Source: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

THE MOST EXPENSIVE train station in the world will open today on the site of New York’s World Trade Center.

Twelve years in the making, there will be no official ceremony to mark the afternoon opening to rail commuters of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub next to the site of the Twin Towers.

The centre connects the PATH commuter rail to New Jersey with New York subway lines, provides indoor pedestrian access to the Trade Center towers and will also house an enormous shopping and restaurant plaza.

2 Source: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The building, designed by Spanish-Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava and called Oculus, is a giant oval made up of steel ribs and glass laid out in elliptical shape, reaching for the sky like wings of a bird.

The space measures 350 feet (107 metres) long by 115 feet (35 metres) at its widest point, according to Calatrava’s website.

Today is only a partial opening and the shops are slated to open in August.

In the 12 years since the project was unveiled, it has been heavily criticised – for its appearance but also for spiralling so drastically off budget and closing seven years behind schedule.

World Trade Center Transportation Hub Construction in June 2014 Source: Associated Press

Initially budgeted at $2 billion, it has spiraled to $3.85 billion according to a spokesperson in Calatrava’s office, which would make it the most expensive station in the world.

In contrast, the temporary station which was built straight after the September 11, 2001 attacks cost just $323 million.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey admitted in a report published in 2008 that the original cost estimate was “too low to begin with” but stressed the advantages it would afford the city.

It said that when completed, the transit hub will serve 250,000 people and more than 200,000 commuters each day, making it the third-largest transportation centre in the city.

- © AFP 2016

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