LIRR Transformation Underway

A $5.6 billion transformation of the Long Island Rail Road is underway, the biggest slate of investments the railroad has received in decades.

All told, the money will fund 100 LIRR capital projects and radically upgrade the customer experience of the nation’s second largest commuter railroad. By the time all the work is completed, the LIRR will have increased its capacity by more than 80 percent.

The robust undertaking was made possible by a partnership between MTA, state and local Officials and numerous Long Island communities.

Earlier this summer, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced plans for the historic multi-billion dollar transformation of LIRR infrastructure, including the Main Line Third Track, Double Track, Jamaica Station Reconstruction, 39 renovated Long Island Rail Road stations and the elimination of grade crossing. Taken together, the upgrades will help modernize transportation across the region and provide a state-of-the-art rail system for Long Islanders.

The $5.6 billion transformation is part of New York's $100 billion infrastructure program, the largest in the nation. A central component of this plan is building a new Hudson Tunnel between New York and New Jersey and rehabilitating the existing tubes. The Gateway project will connect travelers from across the Northeast corridor and bring riders into the heart of our system. This critical project is complemented by the development of the new Penn-Farley Complex, featuring the new Moynihan Train Hall, a $1.6 billion, 255,000 square foot facility which is expected to open in 2020. The Penn-Farley Complex also includes the newly opened West End Concourse, which enables LIRR commuters to board trains without entering Penn. Additionally, the transformative East Side Access project will create the first direct LIRR service to the east side and increase capacity to and from Manhattan.

"With the complete transformation of the Long Island Railroad, New York is recapturing the bold ambition that made our infrastructure the envy of the nation and building for the future. The LIRR is the backbone of the region's economy, and the strength and resiliency of Long Island requires bold, transformative investments to bolster our transportation network," Governor Cuomo said. "From the previously unthinkable Third Track and Second Track projects to state-of-the-art technology and signal upgrades, we are daring to imagine better and delivering for the people of New York once again."

The West End Concourse Expansion

The West End Concourse Expansion marks the end of the first phase of the Pennsylvania Station-Farley Complex as announced by Governor Cuomo in September 2016. The goal was to redevelop the Farley Building by creating a new 255,000 square foot Train Hall to house passenger facilities for the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak. In July, Governor Cuomo announced the final agreement on the $1.6 billion redevelopment of the Penn-Farley Complex. This will allow for major construction to begin after decades of delays.

Penn Farley Complex Design

The Farley Building’s Moynihan Train Hall will include shops and restaurants located under a new skylight on the building’s historic and architecturally dramatic steel trusses. The new Train Hall will increase total concourse floor space by 50 percent from the current facility, and service riders on the LIRR, Amtrak and eventually accommodate passengers from Metro-North. A total of nine platforms and 17 tracks will be accessible from the Train Hall. The Farley Building will also be redeveloped to include approximately 700,000 square feet of office and retail space, which will result in the creation of thousands of new construction and permanent jobs, and create a dynamic civic space for Manhattan’s West Side.

Main Line Third Track

The $2 billion LIRR Expansion Project will add a third track to 9.8 miles of the congested Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville. It will also eliminate all seven street-level grade crossings within the project corridor. With 40 percent of LIRR passengers going through the Main Line, and the project corridor's critical central position in the LIRR system, delays in the have rippled across the entire LIRR and impacted thousands of commuters. Third Track will considerably alleviate these problems.

As part of the transformative Third Track project, the state is also undertaking a comprehensive noise abatement program - replacing all tracks and building the new Third Track with advanced dampening technology. The project includes sound-reducing walls along nearly six miles of residential neighborhoods and features architectural treatments to complement the surrounding environments. Double Track

The $387.2 million, 12.6 mile double track project will enable the LIRR to provide more frequent off-peak service to the Ronkonkoma Branch in both directions, with off-peak service going from one train every hour, to one train every 30 minutes in both directions.

More than 48,000 people ride LIRR's Ronkonkoma Branch each weekday. With just one track along most of the route between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, the LIRR currently can operate only a limited number of trains and lacks operational flexibility in the event of a disruption. The project will reduce delays associated with service disruptions by giving the railroad flexibility to go around obstacles that it cannot currently in single track territory.

The double track project is anticipated to be complete next summer - 16 months ahead of MTA's planned schedule.

Other Investments

  • The state is building a $128 million Mid-Suffolk Storage Yard in Ronkonkoma. The Yard will provide additional space for train car maintenance, inspections and servicing for the electric fleet and thus allow the LIRR to increase service during the AM rush by almost 50 percent, adding eight westbound trains to the current AM schedule.
  • The state is also investing $375 million into the reconstruction of Jamaica Station which handles nearly all LIRR trains, including higher speed switches and new signals. The station will also feature a new platform to streamline operations and increase service capacity to Atlantic, Penn and Grand Central.