MTA Press Releases

Press Release
May 16, 2018
Work on Several Branches This Weekend to Advance LIRR Safety, Reliability and Modernization Initiatives
Bus Service to Substitute For Trains on Portions of the Ronkonkoma and Port Washington Branches; Other Train Service Schedule 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 tie replacement on a section of the Port Washington Branch.

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, May 18, at 10:18 p.m., when train movement through Harold Interlocking will be restricted until 5 a.m. on Monday, May 21. 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.

Further east, round-the-clock work on the Double Track project continues on the Ronkonkoma Branch. Starting at 12:37 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, buses will substitute for train service between Brentwood and Ronkonkoma until 12:15 a.m. on Monday, May 21.

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.

The project, expected to be completed this summer, will also aid in reducing delays in the event of a service disruption, as 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.

From 12:25 a.m. Saturday through 12 a.m. Monday, service on the Port Washington Branch will be reduced while LIRR crews perform Positive Train Control testing. Also on the Port Washington Branch this Saturday, LIRR crews will replace ties necessitating bus service to substitute for trains between Great Neck and Port Washington from 12:54 a.m. to 2:55 p.m. on Saturday, May 19. This work will harden the area’s rail infrastructure to ensure safe and reliable train service.

To accommodate fans to Mets games at CitiField, supplemental train service will be provided to and from Mets-Willets Point Saturday and Sunday. See schedule details here.

Some trains may run on adjusted schedules and have alternate connections. Please refer to the following timetables: Babylon Branch, Far Rockaway Branch, Hempstead Branch, Long Beach Branch, Montauk Branch, Oyster Bay Branch, West 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 service is reduced from 90-minute intervals to 2-hour intervals with alternate connections west of Huntington.


Port Washington Branch – Special Timetable Here

  • Busing is in place Saturday, May 19, only, from 12:54 a.m. to 2:55 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 25 minutes additional travel time, depending on destination.
  • Westbound: Customers boarding at Port Washington, Plandome and Manhasset will board buses or vans up to 25 minutes earlier than normal for Great Neck, where train service will resume.


Ronkonkoma Branch – Special Timetable Here

  • Eastbound customers will detrain at Brentwood and board buses for stations Central Islip through Ronkonkoma. Passengers should expect up to 35 minutes additional travel time.
  • Westbound: Customers traveling from Ronkonkoma and Central Islip will board buses up to 34 minutes earlier than normal for Brentwood, where normal train service will resume.
  • Customers are encouraged to avoid busing and to use the Babylon Branch.


Greenport – Special Timetable Here

  • Eastbound: Customers will board trains for Brentwood and detrain there for buses to Ronkonkoma, where train service will resume to Greenport. Passengers should expect up to 40 minutes additional travel time.
  • Westbound: Customers will depart up to 21 minutes later than normal and detrain at Ronkonkoma for buses to Brentwood, 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.