MTA Press Releases

Press Release
July 18, 2018
IMMEDIATE
Crews to Relocate LIRR Tracks in Queens for Construction of Grand Central Tunnel Entrance
LIRR to Implement Temporary Schedule Changes Effective July 21 Through September 3; Five Trains That Had Been Rerouted by Amtrak Renewal Work at Penn Station Are Restored

Starting this month, crews building East Side Access to connect the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal will relocate hundreds of feet of tracks in Sunnyside, Queens, by several yards to create space for an entrance to a newly built tunnel to Grand Central, and will perform related reconfiguration and reconstruction of track switches.

The new tunnel to Grand Central, which has been built underneath Sunnyside Yard, will carry eastbound and westbound trains that will connect with the LIRR Main Line at Harold Interlocking in Sunnyside. 

“This track relocation reflects real, tangible progress at East Side Access – bringing us another step closer to starting LIRR service to Grand Central,” said Janno Lieber, MTA Chief Development Officer. “After this step is completed, the contract to build the tunnel entrance, which will begin active construction this fall, is the last major contract needed for the start of service.”

LIRR President Phillip Eng said: “I’m pleased that this is taking place in a compressed timeframe of just six weeks, during the summer when rush hour commuting is generally lower. I thank our customers for bearing with us as the MTA makes this historic improvement to the railroad.”

As a result of the work, LIRR schedules that take effect on Saturday, July 21, will reflect some temporary service changes. The schedules will also restore five trains that had been rerouted since January because of Amtrak’s ongoing track work at Penn Station.

For schedule details, customers can pick up a copy of their new branch timetables at stations or view it online at MTA.info. All train schedule information will be available through the MYmta app as well as LIRR Train Time. A summary of notable changes follows.

Amtrak-Related Service Restorations:

Babylon Branch

  • The 8:25 a.m. train from Freeport, stopping at Baldwin, Rockville Centre, and Jamaica, will again go to Penn Station, where it will arrive at 9:08 a.m. This train had been serving Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn, since January.

Far Rockaway Branch

  • The 8:10 a.m. train from Far Rockaway, making all local stops to Valley Stream, will again go to Penn Station, where it will arrive at 9:05 a.m. It will also stop at Forest Hills and Kew Gardens. This train had been temporarily serving Hunterspoint Avenue since January.
  • The 5:32 p.m. train from Penn Station, operating express to Valley Stream, then making all local stops to Far Rockaway, will once again depart from Penn Station. It had been originating in Jamaica at 5:52 p.m. since January, with connecting service from Penn Station.
  • The 5:53 p.m. train from Far Rockaway making all local stops to Valley Stream will again go to Penn Station, where it will arrive at 6:47 p.m. The train will also make stops at Kew Gardens and Forest Hills. This train had been temporarily servicing Atlantic Terminal since January.

Forest Hills & Kew Gardens

  • Because the 8:10 a.m. train from Far Rockaway is resuming service to Penn Station, with stops at Kew Gardens at 8:47 a.m. and Forest Hills at 8:49 a.m., the 8:03 a.m. train from Babylon will now run express from Jamaica to Penn Station, and the 7:57 a.m. train from Ronkonkoma will now run express from Jamaica to Woodside.
  • Because the 5:53 p.m. train from Far Rockaway is resuming service to Penn Station, with stops at Kew Gardens at 6:30 p.m. and Forest Hills at 6:32 p.m., the 5:35 p.m. train from Babylon will now run express from Jamaica to Penn Station.

Hempstead Branch

  • The 7:05 p.m. train from Penn Station making all local stops to Hempstead, will once again depart from Penn Station. It has been originating from Atlantic Terminal since January.

Port Jefferson Branch

  • The 5:06 p.m. train from Penn Station to Syosset, Cold Spring Harbor, and Huntington will be restored. This train had been temporarily cancelled since January. As a result, the 5:33 p.m. train from Penn Station to Hicksville will revert back to its original schedule and terminate at Hicksville and the 5:49 p.m. train from Hunterspoint Avenue to Port Jefferson will revert back to its original schedule, running express through Huntington.

Port Washington Branch

  • The 5:50 p.m. train from Penn Station to Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck and Great Neck will be restored. This train has been temporarily cancelled since January.

Changes Related to East Side Access Track Work in Queens

Far Rockaway Branch / Long Beach Branch

  • The 8:03am train from Valley Stream, stopping at Rosedale, Laurelton, Locust Manor, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Penn Station, will run express through Woodside.

Montauk Branch

  • The 5:39 a.m. train from Montauk to Hunterspoint Avenue and Long Island City will terminate at Jamaica at 8:17 a.m. Customers traveling to Hunterspoint Avenue or Long Island City can take the 8:25 a.m. train from Jamaica to Hunterspoint Avenue, which will add a stop at Long Island City.

Port Washington Branch

  • The 8:21 a.m. train from Penn Station, making all local stops to Port Washington, will be cancelled. Alternate trains depart Penn Station at 7:55a.m. and 8:51 a.m.
  • The 8:45 a.m. train from Port Washington, running express after Great Neck, will be cancelled. Alternate trains depart Port Washington at 8:18 a.m. and 9:11 a.m.
  • The 4:22 p.m. train from Penn Station to Great Neck, Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington will be cancelled. Customers can take the 4:25 p.m. train to Great Neck, which will add stops at Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington.
  • The 5:00 p.m. train from Port Washington, making all local stops except Plandome and Murray Hill, will be cancelled. Alternate trains depart Port Washington at 4:36 p.m. and 5:23 p.m. Additional service is also available from Great Neck departing at 5:21 p.m., making all local stops to Flushing-Main St. and Penn Station.
  • The 5:26 p.m. train from Penn Station to Great Neck, Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington will be cancelled. Customers can take the 5:29 p.m. train to Great Neck, which will add stops at Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington.
  • The 7:01 p.m. train from Penn Station to Bayside, Great Neck, Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington will be cancelled. Customers can take the 7:14 p.m. train to Great Neck, which will add stops at Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington.

All the westbound trains that normally depart from Track 1 at Woodside will depart from Track 2 at Woodside throughout the duration of the NEQ Appendix.

Ronkonkoma Branch

  • The 1:32 p.m. train to Farmingdale will no longer be operating. Alternate eastbound train service to Ronkonkoma will depart Penn Station 18 minutes earlier or 42 minutes later.

Many Channels for Services Updates

Information about 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.infois always the definitive source for the latest status for each branch, updated every minute. In addition, customers can visit www.mta.info/lirrto 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.