LIRR Announces Timetable Changes Due to Amtrak’s Penn Station Renewal and MTA’s East Side Access Work
Seven Morning Rush Trains and Six Evening Rush Trains Affected; To Offset These Changes, Five Trains Being Added and Select Trains to Be Lengthened; Rush Hour Seating Capacity Reduction Limited to 1%
As a result of multiple infrastructure projects, including Amtrak’s work at Penn Station to renew Track 18 and East Side Access work at Harold Interlocking, MTA Long Island Rail Road today announced new timetables will be in effect starting January 7 through March 3, 2019.
Amtrak’s work will limit the LIRR’s use of available track space in Penn Station. As a result of that and East Side Access work being done concurrently, the LIRR will divert or cancel seven of 144 morning rush trains and six of 130 evening rush trains. Five trains are being added before and after the rush period. By lengthening select trains, the LIRR is limiting the overall reduction in seating capacity to less than 1%.
These changes include: three morning peak trains to Penn Station will be diverted to Atlantic Terminal; one morning peak train to Penn Station will terminate in Jamaica; one morning peak train to Penn Station will not operate. In the evening rush, two trains will originate at Atlantic Terminal instead of Penn Station, one train will originate at Jamaica instead of Penn Station; two trains will not operate, and one evening reverse-peak train will be diverted to Atlantic Terminal.
In both the morning and evening rush hours, stops will be added to trains as necessary to preserve service opportunities from diverted or cancelled trains, and cars will be added to lengthen select existing trains.
To help offset these changes and maintain maximum capacity, two trains will be added to Penn Station in the early AM rush, as well as two trains added in the early afternoon from Penn Station, and one new peak train from Hunterspoint Avenue.
“Amtrak’s Penn Station renewal work is critical to the LIRR’s continued operation to Manhattan’s West Side, and needs to be done as quickly as possible,” LIRR President Phil Eng said. “We appreciate our customers’ patience as this important infrastructure work continues.”
Amtrak’s State of Good Repair work is ongoing, and these changes, or similar changes, are expected to be in effect through May. As work continues and planning is ongoing, the LIRR will be working closely with Amtrak to determine the best strategy to allow for these critical projects to progress while causing minimal impacts to LIRR customers. We will be informing customers as new information and updates become available.
The LIRR is planning a robust communications effort to make sure customers know their travel options ahead of time. Customer communications will be issued via our email/text alert system, in printed seat-drops on our trains, in our monthly MyLIRR newsletter, on social media, recorded platform announcements, and notices on our digital screens system-wide. Customers can sign up to receive email/text alerts that can be tailored to their specific commuting times/branches by visiting this link. The new timetables will be posted to this web page on MTA.info as soon as they become available, and will be distributed in paper format at stations system-wide.
Beginning Monday, January 7, through Sunday, February 3, 2019, tracks and switches in Harold Interlocking will be taken out of service for preparation work for the creation of an East Side Access tunnel connection. To accommodate this work, schedules and station stopping patterns will be adjusted on some peak and reverse-peak trains, as well as associated connecting trains. During the PM peak, 11 trains across multiple branches will have minor schedule adjustments, departing up to two minutes earlier or later. Details are included in this release below, as well as in LIRR's timetables.
“East Side Access will bring much-needed expanded service and redundancy for LIRR customers wanting to access Manhattan, and this ongoing work will help us accomplish this goal with speed and efficiency,” MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber said.
Some schedule adjustments will also take place on the Atlantic Branch to allow DOT to perform work at Atlantic Avenue. Other projects are continuing during this time, including Positive Train Control installation, West Side Yard overbuild, Hurricane Sandy Restoration work on the Long Beach Branch, and Jamaica Capacity improvements.
Service details by branch are below:
New Timetable Effective January 7, through March 3, 2019:
Far Rockaway Branch
Port Jefferson Branch Electric Service From Huntington
Long Beach Branch
Port Washington Branch
Other Temporary Adjustments Included in These Timetables:
Port Jefferson Branch and Oyster Bay Branch
On overnights and weekends, one of two tracks along the Main Line between New Hyde Park and Carle Place will be out of service to allow for work on the Main Line Expansion Project. Train schedules during this time may be adjusted up to 8 minutes later for westbound trains from Huntington, and some eastbound trains are adjusted between 5 minutes earlier and 3 minutes later. Westbound Oyster Bay trains are adjusted up to 19 minutes earlier.
On weekends, concrete tie installation and signal testing will take place on this branch between Bethpage and Wyandanch. During this time, most westbound Ronkonkoma trains will be adjusted five minutes later.
Schedule Changes in Effect Jan. 7 - Feb. 3, 2019:
A special timetable for these changes will be issued as soon as they are available. Train time adjustments to other trains are expected, in addition to the changes below:
Port Washington Branch
Eastbound reverse-peak trains may have adjusted schedules as noted in timetables.
Many Channels for Services Updates
Information about the service changes noted in this press release and all planned service changes is available through the LIRR’s real-time service information sources:
Email and text message service updates – Customers are urged to sign up to receive the alerts by visiting MyMTAAlerts.com. To avoid unwanted messages, a user can tailor the messages to the specific branch, and the specific times of day.
MYmta app – Customers who use the new, comprehensive MYmta app will see real-time travel information for LIRR and connecting services all in one place. As a caution, trains that start out their trips on time may experience delays en route. The LIRR Train Time app also remains available for customers to access LIRR train information.
MTA.info – The rail tab of the “Service Status” box at the left side of www.MTA.info is always the definitive source for the latest status for each branch, updated every minute. In addition, customers can visit www.mta.info/lirr to see special service notices in the upper center of the page.
@LIRR on Twitter – Twitter users can follow @LIRR to receive updates of a similar nature to the email and text alerts, shortened to fit Twitter’s format.
The above communications channels can be accessed while at home or on the go. For customers who are located at stations, the LIRR will post the latest service updates on digital signs at station platforms and will make audio announcements over public address systems, and on-board announcements made by train crews.
For those who prefer the telephone, information is available from the LIRR’s Customer Service Center by calling 511, the New York State Travel Information Line, and saying: “Long Island Rail Road” Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can use their preferred service provider for the free 711 relay to reach the LIRR at 511.