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Press Release
July 17, 2013
East Side Access Track Work at Harold Interlocking Will Speed Trains; 3 AM Peak and 2 PM Peak Train Cancellations Required During 30-Day Construction

For 30 days this summer, crews working on the East Side Access megaproject will build heavy concrete slabs that will serve as the ceiling of a new underpass at the busy Harold Interlocking switching complex in Sunnyside, Queens. The underpass will create a congestion-free bypass for Amtrak trains approaching Penn Station from Boston, which means fewer potential delays for customers of the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak.

In order to accommodate the work, the LIRR will cancel five rush-hour trains each day from July 22 to August 16. The trains’ stops will be added to other trains that in general will depart within 5 to 15 minutes of the canceled trains’ departure times. Four other trains will operate shortened runs.

The construction dates were chosen to minimize disruption to customers, and the five cancellations represent less than 1% of the approximately 740 trains that the LIRR operates each weekday.

The timetable impacts are as follows:

Morning Rush Hour

Three trains will be canceled:

  • The 6:54 a.m. departure from Central Islip, due Penn Station at 8:06 a.m.
  • The 7:55 a.m. departure from Little Neck, due Penn Station at 8:26 a.m.
  • The 8:10 a.m. departure from Freeport, due Penn Station at 8:50 a.m.

In addition, the 5:39 a.m. departure from Montauk, due Hunterspoint Avenue at 8:36 a.m., will terminate at Jamaica instead. The 7:13 a.m. departure from Oyster Bay, due Long Island City at 8:34 a.m., will also terminate in Jamaica instead.

Evening Rush Hour

Two trains will be canceled:

  • The 6:05 p.m. departure from Penn Station, due Wantagh at 6:51 p.m.
  • The 6:33 p.m. departure from Penn Station, due Babylon at 7:35 p.m.

In addition, the 4:28 p.m. departure from Long Island City, due Patchogue at 6:14 p.m., will originate instead at Jamaica at 5:03 p.m. The 6:30 p.m. departure from Hunterspoint Avenue, due Port Jefferson at 8:15 p.m., will originate at Jamaica at 6:49 p.m.

The work to build the westbound bypass is part of a project to decongest Harold Interlocking that is being funded with a Federal High Speed Rail grant of nearly $300 million, which was awarded in 2011. For more information on the project, click on this link:

Once installed, the concrete slabs being put into place this summer will allow for LIRR service to continue without further cancellations while the bypass is built under one of the busiest train intersections in North America. Without the slab, weekend LIRR outages would have been required for many months.