The West Side Yard (officially the John D. Caemmerer West Side Yard) is a rail yard owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on the west side of Manhattan in New York City. The 26.17-acre (110,000 m2) yard is used for the storage of commuter rail trains operated by the Long Island Rail Road and is situated between West 30th Street, West 33rd Street, Tenth Avenue and Twelfth Avenue. The West Side Yard is also located at the north end of the High Line, a former elevated rail line used for freight service that has been converted into a park, and to the south of the truck marshalling yard used by the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
The West Side Yard is named after John D. Caemmerer, a New York State Senator from East Williston that was instrumental in obtaining $195.7 million in funding needed to construct the yard, which includes storage tracks, a six-track indoor shop for light maintenance, a 12-car long platform for car cleaning, and lockers and a break room for employees. Before the yard opened in 1987, trains arriving at Penn Station during the morning rush hour would have to deadhead back to locations on Long Island for midday storage. The West Side Yard also increased the LIRR's peak period capacity at Penn Station.
The site was originally used as a depot for the Hudson River Railroad for a line running down Eleventh Avenue, as trains were not permitted to operate south of West 32nd Street because of a fear of explosions. New York Central later expanded the rail yards and used them as a freight terminal up until the 1970s. The West Side Yard is located between Penn Station and the Hudson River.During the construction of the West Side Yard, an underground tunnel was built that allows Amtrak trains from Penn Station to travel to Upstate New York via the West Side Line. Amtrak trains began using this tunnel on April 7, 1991; prior to this Empire Service trains originated from Grand Central Terminal.
The West Side Yard was also designed to accommodate an overbuild in its air rights, and space was left between the tracks to permit the installation of columns to support a platform above the tracks. Madison Square Garden was considering to move to the site in the mid-1980s and the rail yards were also considered as a possible stadium site for the New York Yankees. The rail yards were later proposed as the site of a sports complex containing a West Side Stadium for the New York Jets.
The eastern portion of the West Side Yard (east of Eleventh Avenue) was rezoned for residential use in January 2005 as part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project. Following the defeat of the proposal to construct the West Side Stadium, the western portion of the rail yard was rezoned to accommodate residential and commercial development in December 2009.