MTA Press Releases

Press Release
June 1, 2018
Service Advisory: LIRR to Perform Work on Several Branches This Weekend to Advance System Modernization and Improve Safety and Reliability
Bus Service to Substitute For Trains on Portions of the Ronkonkoma and Port Washington Branches; Other Train Service Changes

The Long Island Rail Road will perform important infrastructure work at several locations across the system this weekend, including on the Double Track project on the Ronkonkoma Branch; pre-cutover testing on the new signal system in Harold Interlocking; as well as Positive Train Control testing and Sperry rail testing on a section of the Port Washington Branch.

The highly anticipated Double Track Project, a crucial component to expanding LIRR service in Suffolk County while bolstering the region’s economy, will improve service and reliability on the LIRR’s Ronkonkoma Branch, as well as for service to Long Island MacArthur Airport. Over the past 25 years, ridership on the Ronkonkoma Branch has doubled -- growing in popularity since the line was electrified in 1988 – indicating the need for expansion.

Round-the-clock work on the Double Track project continues on the Ronkonkoma Branch. Starting at 1:03 a.m. on Saturday, June 2, buses will substitute for train service between Hicksville and Ronkonkoma until 12:44 a.m. on Monday, June 4.

The project, expected to be completed this summer, will also aid in reducing delays in the event of a service disruption, as the majority of the 18-mile stretch between Ronkonkoma and Farmingdale currently only has one track available to both directions of train traffic. When an issue arises with a train, this stalls all other east and westbound trains because there is currently no way to circumnavigate the stalled train.

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, more reliable system has built-in redundancies and is based on microprocessor technology, replacing an older hard-wired relay-based signal system.

Testing on the new signal system, a part of the East Side Access project, will begin Friday, June 1, at 10:19 p.m., when train movement through Harold Interlocking will be restricted until 5 a.m. on Monday, June 4. For this effort, train service on the Port Jefferson Branch will be reduced during this time, while other branches may experience adjusted schedules and alternate connections.

On the Port Washington Branch, from 7:18 a.m. to 12:18 p.m. Saturday, June 2, and again on Sunday, June 3, from 7:18 a.m. to 9:18 a.m., service on this branch will be reduced from half-hourly to hourly while LIRR crews perform Positive Train Control testing.

Also on the Port Washington Branch, from 1:05 a.m. to 5:35 a.m. Saturday, June 2, Sperry rail testing will be performed. During this time, eastbound train service will terminate at Great Neck, and westbound service will originate at Great Neck. Customers on the four affected trains can board buses or vans. Details on this service is noted below. The portion of the track between Great Neck and Port Washington will be back in service at 5:35 a.m. for the departure of the 5:39 a.m. train from Port Washington.

Due to the work across several branches, some trains may run on adjusted schedules and have alternate connections. Please refer to the following timetables: Babylon BranchFar Rockaway BranchHempstead BranchLong Beach BranchMontauk BranchOyster Bay BranchWest Hempstead Branch.


Other service changes are as follows:


Port Jefferson Branch – Special Timetable Here

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


Port Washington Branch – Special Timetable Here

  • Busing between Great Neck and Port Washington is in place Saturday, June 2, only, from 1:05 a.m. to 5:35 p.m.
  • Eastbound: Passengers traveling to Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington will detrain at Great Neck and board buses or vans to their final destinations. Passengers should expect up to 29 minutes additional travel time, depending on destination.
  • Westbound: Customers boarding at Port Washington, Plandome and Manhasset will board buses or vans up to 30 minutes earlierthan normal for Great Neck, where train service will resume.


Ronkonkoma Branch – Special Timetable Here

  • Eastbound: Customers will detrain at Hicksville and board buses for stations Bethpage through Ronkonkoma. Passengers should expect up to 46 minutes additional travel time.
  • Westbound: Customers traveling from Ronkonkoma through Hicksville will board buses up to 46 minutes earlierthan normal for Hicksville, where normal train service will resume.
  • Customers are encouraged to avoid busing and to use the Babylon Branch.


Greenport – Special Timetable Here

  • Eastbound:
    • Customers for the 4:19 a.m. train from Ronkonkoma to Greenport will board the 2:53 a.m. train to Hicksville, where they will detrain and board a bus making all local stops to Greenport. Passengers should expect up to 1 hour and 40 minutes additional travel time.
    • Customers for the 9:40 a.m. and 2:40 p.m. trains from Ronkonkoma to Greenport will board the 7:12 a.m. and 12:12 p.m. trains to Hicksville, one hour earlier than normal, and detrain there for buses to Ronkonkoma, where normal train service resumes.
    • Customers looking to take the 6:50 p.m. train from Ronkonkoma to Greenport will board the 5:14 p.m. train to Hicksville, where they will detrain for buses to Ronkonkoma, where normal train service will resume.
  • Westbound: Customers will depart up to 21 minutes later than normal and detrain at Ronkonkoma for buses to Hicksville, where train service will resume to points west. Passengers will arrive at Western Terminals 1 hour later than normal.


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 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.