MTA Press Releases

Press Release
May 9, 2018
LIRR to Test Upgraded East Side Access Signal System at Harold Interlocking, and Service Switches and Tracks on Atlantic Branch This Saturday
Buses to Substitute For Trains Between Valley Stream and West Hempstead, and Service Changes on Several Other Branches Saturday May, 12; Regular Service Resumes Sunday For Mother’s Day Travels

Long Island Rail Road crews will test upgraded signal systems for the East Side Access project, as well as perform switch surfacing work on the Atlantic Branch to ensure system reliability this Saturday, May 12, 2018. The LIRR will suspend all work and testing the morning of Sunday, May 13, to help customers travel to and from Mother’s Day visits and activities.

Starting Friday, May 11, at 10:18 p.m. until Sunday, May 13, at 6:29 a.m., train movements through Harold Interlocking in Queens will be limited while LIRR crews perform testing on a new signal system for the East Side Access project.

The new signal system at Harold Interlocking will ensure smooth and improved train service through the area, as it is a crucial piece of infrastructure containing numerous switches that route trains across the tracks that lead to Penn Station. The new system is based on microprocessor technology, which has built-in redundancies and replaces an older hard-wired relay-based signal system.

Coinciding with this work, LIRR crews will perform switch surfacing on the Atlantic Branch, which will help improve track stability and ensure safe and efficient operations. One of the two tracks on the Atlantic Branch between Jamaica Station and Valley Stream will be out of service for 18 hours from 12:15 a.m. on Saturday, May 12 until 6:34 a.m. Sunday, May 13th.

To allow for these necessary projects, some service changes to LIRR train schedules will be in effect from late Friday evening until Sunday morning. Special timetables for May 11-12 on affected branches with adjusted schedules and connections can be found here: Babylon BranchHempstead BranchMontauk BranchOyster Bay BranchRonkonkoma Branch.

Details on additional service changes are as follows:

West Hempstead Branch – Special Timetable Here


  • West Hempstead passengers will detrain in Valley Stream and board buses up to 12 minutes later than normal for the duration of their trip to stations at Westwood, Malverne, Lakeview, Hempstead Gardens and West Hempstead.
  • Passengers should expect up to 24 minutes of additional travel time.


  • West Hempstead passengers will board buses at their station (West Hempstead, Hempstead Gardens, Lakeview, Malverne, and Westwood) up to 23 minutes earlier than normal for Valley Stream, where train service will resume.

Port Jefferson Branch – Special Timetable Here

  • Huntington Service is reduced from half-hourly to hourly with trains during this time making all local stops from New Hyde Park to Huntington. Other trains will have adjusted schedules.
  • Port Jefferson Service is reduced from 90-minute intervals to 2 hour intervals with alternate connections west of Huntington.

Far Rockaway Branch – Special Timetable Here

  • Some trains will operate on an adjusted schedule and some will have added stops at Rosedale, Laurelton and Locust Manor.

Long Beach Branch – Special Timetable Here


  • Some eastbound Long Beach trains will operate on an adjusted schedule and originate out of Valley Stream.
  • Long Beach passengers will board the Far Rockaway trains in Jamaica (23 minutes earlier than Long Beach trains) and detrain for Valley Stream where train service to Long Beach will resume. Passengers should expect up to 28 minutes of additional travel time.


  • Some westbound Long Beach trains will operate on an adjusted schedule and some will terminate in Valley Stream. Long Beach passengers will detrain at Valley Stream and board the Far Rockaway train 21 minutes later for service to western terminals. Passengers should expect up to 23 minutes of additional travel time.

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 To avoid unwanted messages, a user can tailor the messages to the specific branch, and the specific times of day.                     

LIRR Train Time app – Customers who use the LIRR Train Time app will see up-to-the-minute status for each upcoming train at each station. As a caution, trains that start out their trips on time may experience delays en route. – The rail tab of the “Service Status” box at the left side of is always the definitive source for the latest status for each branch, updated every minute. In addition, customers can visit 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.