LIRR Progress in pictures, and important recent news

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LIRR Progress in pictures, and important recent news
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, January 2, 2020 10:21 PM
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Posted by NKP guy on Friday, January 3, 2020 8:24 AM

   The LIRR PR piece is impressive in every way to this Ohioan.  You New Yorkers may pay higher taxes than we flatlanders do, but look at what you get!  The LIRR replaced more bridges in these photographs than the Ohio DOT.  At least, it looks like it.  Modern up-to-date stations, new and better equipment...what's not to like?

   Thanks for posting this and thereby giving railfans hope for the future.  

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Posted by 54light15 on Friday, January 3, 2020 10:45 AM

That is impressive and as an ex-Long Islander, the LIRR has sure come a long way from the days of "Dashing Dan." 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, January 3, 2020 11:16 AM

Great photo show!  Thanks David!

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, January 3, 2020 12:27 PM

I dunno, Valley Stream Station looks kind of clinical... nice see through garbage can though!  ... and it's the only one with any people in it... where are all the people? Mass Transit... no mass.

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 11:09 AM

Reconstructed LIRR 2-track elevated Nostrand Avenue (on Atantic Avenue) Station. now with handiciapped access:

Nostrand Avenue 07-08-19

The rehabilitated Nostrand Avenue Station is part of a broader effort to modernize LIRR rail stations and contribute to the economic development of the region. More information about the station renewal project is available at, at this link:

Nostrand Avenue 07-08-19

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 9:38 PM


Dave, Can you provide what I'm seeing in the Nassau Switch picture. Is that a movable frog on a high speed switch?

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, February 8, 2020 1:09 PM

Yes   Exactly

Also in use on Metro North

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 7:35 AM
Date: February 21, 2020 at 06:07:01 CST

Subject: Jamaica Platform F opens for passenger serviceu

Jamaica Platform F opens for passenger service
The new platform F at Jamaica has opened, with the first passenger train to use the new platform departing unceremoniously late Thursday evening.  The platform, which is south of the existing five passenger platforms at Jamaica, has been built similar in appearance to the existing station platforms (which were renovated over the course of the mid-2000’s) and are designated as tracks 11 and 12.  Current station tracks are numbered 1 through 8; track 9 is a bypass track that hooks into track 8 at both ends, and track 10 is a reconfigured bypass track, which will primarily allow freight and other non-passenger trains to bypass the station.  The platform is offset west slightly from the rest of the platforms and connects up to the existing AirTrain overpass and down the street level at Sutphin Boulevard at its very east end.  The west overpass at Jamaica was extended to go over the new platform.  To meet freight clearances, the overpass has a second set of steps up so it crosses with a floor level that’s higher than the rest of the overpass (making it an up-up-and-over transfer, in a way).  You can see photos of the new platform at this link.

Trains operating to Brooklyn from the new platform will use track routes through Jamaica that have been largely untrodden by passenger trains in recent times.  Westbound trains departing from the new platform will head up on the southernmost flyover towards the old Lower Montauk Branch, and then connect back to Atlantic Branch track 2 at DUNTON Interlocking.  Eastbound trains from Brooklyn will switch onto the Brooklyn freight bypass track, which cuts off the curve that most of the other Atlantic Branch tracks take to pass under the Main Line and Montauk Branch flyovers.  There is a new set of crossovers just west of the station.  Click the image below to see an overview of the routing.

Final works on track 12 are still not completed yet
(Photo: The LIRR Today)
The $301.7 million first phase of the Jamaica Capacity “Improvement” project was originally supposed to be completed back in January 2014, and with the full completion of the first portion of the scope still not expected until October 2021, the project is significantly behind schedule.  In the last formal update, the railroad had said as recently as October that Platform F was supposed to be done in the last quarter of 2019, so the opening date has slid by several weeks.  The remaining track and infrastructure for the new platform is expected to be completed in Q3 2020, and the new universal crossovers in Q3 2021.  Track 12 and the new crossovers west of the station do not appear to be in service yet…track 12 isn’t even tied in to the east switch, and the first trains operated using the Montauk Branch flyover in both directions.

Current transfers at Jamaica are usually cross-platform and very easy...
The new platform is one of the major components of phase 1 of the Jamaica Capacity “Improvement” Project.  The LIRR has stated in the past that their intention is to cut off Brooklyn service and segregate it from the rest of the system, offering only shuttle service between Atlantic Terminal and this new platform F at Jamaica.  Passengers wishing to connect to points east will be forced to make an up-and-over transfer in each direction using one of two overpasses at either end of the platform.  This plan, if carried through, would represent a significant downgrade in service from the direct trains offered today, and easy cross-platform transfers for everyone else.  As I have written in the past, the LIRR’s plan in this area is extremely misguided and would likely deal a significant blow to Brooklyn ridership.  When forced to make an additional transfer, most riders bound for Lower Manhattan (or even Downtown Brooklyn) will likely elect to just stay on the train and connect to the subway at NY-Penn Station or, eventually, NY-Grand Central instead (cutting a three-seat ride with a long up-and-over transfer down to a two-seat ride).  This will needlessly push additional riders through already very crowded New York terminals and onto jammed Manhattan subway lines.

Brooklyn riders will need to hike down to the south end of the overpasses
to make their connections (Photo: The LIRR Today)
While LIRR pledged more frequent service (about every 7-8 minutes during rush hours and 15 minutes off-peak), they will very likely not be guaranteed connections like they are today (although the railroad has become far more liberal in intentionally letting trains depart without their scheduled connections over the past several months), and there’s no guarantee that the trains will be well-synced with connections from New York at Jamaica, like they are (to some extent) today.  Either way you slice it, the plan will all but certainly extend door-to-door travel times for all but a small handful of existing passengers, as riders now must make a time consuming transfer by detraining from their first train, walking to one of the two overpasses at the ends of the station, climbing up the stairs, crossing over to the next platform, and descending to the platform level again.

There is a single elevator serving the new platform, all the way at the east end of the platform, like all of the other passenger elevators at the complex.  This makes the lengthy transfer even more arduous for people with mobility impairments…  Someone arriving on a train from eastern LI in one of the first few cars must move east almost the entire length of the platform, take the elevator up to the AirTrain overpass, make their way down to platform F, and take the elevator down to the platform for their next train.  And because the elevator is at the very east end of platform F, but at both Nostrand Avenue and Brooklyn-Atlantic Terminal, the elevators are all at the very west end of the platforms, people with mobility impairments must then move the entire length of the train (either at Jamaica or their destination).  That’s a significant amount of locomotion required for a population that already has lots of difficulty with that…

While the LIRR pushed the shuttleization idea quite hard in the early stages of East Side Access, officials seem to be wavering on that position in recent years.  Though, even still, neither the MTA nor the LIRR have offered Brooklyn riders any clarity at all as to what their service might be like in the coming years.  And instead they have pressed on with constructing the new platform essential to the significantly flawed plan (and relatively useless for anything else).

The entrance to the new platform F from the AirTrain overpass.  The new
platform is offset west, so there's no second set of stairs (The LIRR Today)
For now, the timetable card posted on the website for the three new trains operating as shuttles between Jamaica and Brooklyn say they are only operating "on select weekdays when announced by LIRR supervision", which suggests they will probably be used as some filler/supplemental trains for Barclays Center events that aren’t Islanders games.  The trains now, as the LIRR has scheduled them, are almost completely useless and do not add any extra travel options, unless you are one of the very few people who travel locally between Brooklyn and Jamaica at that time of night.  Both westbound trains leave just four minutes after already-scheduled trains to Brooklyn and do not take on any additional connections.  The one and only eastbound train departs 5 minutes before an existing Long Beach train, and again serves zero additional connections.

There were 29 LIRR employees on hand for the initial departure from Jamaica, including a full train crew plus an additional collector (for a total of four), at least 8 MTA police officers, and a handful of managers and other spectators.  The first departure from Jamaica had a grand total of 3 paying passengers onboard (only one of which was an ordinary commuter who dove through the doors, panting, just before departure after he had just missed the prior train).  The eastbound train had approximately 50 adults onboard, plus another two dozen or so small children, most of which were on their way home from the Jurassic World show at the Barclays Center.  A small handful of people made their way down to the street at Jamaica, but most ended up having to run up and over to make connections to points east.  Laying aside all of the managers, cops, and spectators and assuming the extra crew was working on overtime, the three shuttle trains had an average operating cost per passenger of about $34...

While the LED lights on the new platform are certainly very bright, the future for LIRR’s service to Brooklyn is not, and significant uncertainty looms as officials stay silent on future plans for Brooklyn service, either because they haven’t made up their mind (despite spending all of this money on physical investments now) or because they’re hoping not many people catch on to what’s about to happen…

[This item appeared first on The LIRR Today.]

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 8:29 AM

This whole Jamaica "Improvement" Program doesn't seem to amount to much from the passengers' perspective.  Who thought up this thing?

Perhaps it's time to review it using people like those who figured out where the cables should be run in MTA tunnels.  The article might be sarcastic, but I think many, perhaps all the things established in it are real.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, April 19, 2020 4:34 AM

Statements from MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye and LIRR President Phil Eng

Statement from MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye:
"Ray Kenny was a beloved and universally respected railroader who was laser focused on improving the lives of his customers and colleagues at all levels of the Long Island Railroad and New Jersey Transit. Ray began his storied career at the LIRR 50 years ago and held a number of key positions over many years, including Acting President. Ray was a member of the MTA family and he will be deeply missed. His legacy is felt by generations of LIRR customers and employees."
Statement from LIRR President Phil Eng:
"Ray was a legend. While I never had the opportunity to work with him at the LIRR, the results of his leadership where clear throughout the railroad when I came on board. The entire railroad is hurting right now."
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Posted by MidlandMike on Sunday, April 19, 2020 10:14 PM

What happened to Mr. Kenny?

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Posted by matthewsaggie on Monday, April 20, 2020 9:06 PM

Covid-19 got him.

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Posted by PJS1 on Sunday, April 26, 2020 10:16 AM
Great pictures!
I grew up in Altoona.  My uncle lived in Flushing and worked in NYC.  During my last two years of high school (1956 and 1957), I found numerous opportunities to visit him.
I rode the PRR from Altoona to Penn Station, NYC, and then the LIRR to Murray Hill Station.  I remember my uncle telling me not to get off the train at Main Street, Flushing. 
My uncle’s house was on Station Road in Flushing.  The LIRR ran right by the front door; we used to sit on the porch in the good weather and watch the trains go by. 
The pictures of the Flushing Street Station brought back many fond memories. 

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, October 23, 2020 1:44 AM

Heroic LIRR Employees Save Customer’s Life at East New York Station in Brooklyn

Employees Act Quickly to Bring Man to Safety After He Falls on Tracks 

LIRR President Recognizes Employees for Their Rescue 

View Photo of Rescue

View Video of Commendations  

View Photos of Commendations  

Long Island Rail Road President Phil Eng today honored five LIRR employees who worked together to save the life of a customer who had fallen onto the tracks during the morning rush hour at the LIRR’s East New York station in Brooklyn on Wednesday, Oct. 21. 

All five employees – Gregory Hartley, Kevin Rattigan, Larry Woods, Stacy Augustine and Shelwyn Hendy -- work as a team to assist with safety protection on the tracks while crews are performing roadwork on an adjacent project. 

The incident happened Wednesday, Oct. 21, at approximately 7:29 a.m. All five employees had just wrapped up their job briefing for the day when they heard a loud sound caused by the man falling onto Track 2 at the east end of the eastbound platform. 

One of the employees quickly contacted the tower operator to stop trains coming from through the area. Two employees served as look outs to make sure no trains were approaching. Meanwhile, others worked to calm the man down until it was safe for them to go onto the tracks themselves to help him up. 

As this was developing, the man stumbled and lost his footing when his shoe got stuck between rails. Employees went onto the tracks and loosened the man’s shoelaces to help get his foot out of his shoe in order to free him from the rails. The employees completed the rescue and walked him to the end of the platform where FDNY and NYPD crews were waiting. 

“Our employees always rise to the occasion and this is a true example of the heroes who work among us, said Phil Eng, President of Long Island Rail Road. “Not only has the workforce stepped up ensuring invaluable service in our fight against the pandemic but the quick action by – Gregory, Kevin, Larry, Stacy and Shelwyn saved a life. Not exactly verbatim from a well-known superhero, but in this case, it fits; Faster than a speeding locomotive! We cannot thank them enough.” 

“We tried to keep the man calm and all of us as a team, we saved this man’s life and he’s able to go home to his family because of us,” said Shelwyn Hendy, of the LIRR crew“Behind the scenes, we all do our jobs and we’re glad we could help this gentleman.” 

“This couldn’t have gone any better if we had practiced it,” said Larry Woods, of the LIRR crew“I did what I could to help, the man was very disoriented and I was nervous that he was going to touch that rail. I’m just glad we were all able to get out of there safely.”  

“We heard a thud, turned around and that’s when we noticed the gentleman down on the tracks, laying draped across the third rail protection board,” said Gregory Hartley, of the LIRR crew“It’s a scary situation and he could have been electrocuted at any moment. At that point our first reaction was to make sure we stopped any train that could come through.” 

“My first instinct was to turn my radio to channel one and try to let any incoming traffic coming into the platform know that there was someone on the tracks and they could not come in,” said Stacy Augustine, of the LIRR crew“My role was to make sure there were no westbound trains coming in until it was safe and the man got off the tracks.” 

“I was the west end lookout during the operation to make sure that I could stop any eastbound train traffic in a sufficient amount of time so nothing bad would happen and they could safely get the man off the tracks,” said Kevin Rattigan, of the LIRR crew. 

“Conductors providing Roadway Worker Protection for the countless Contractors who work around our live tracks each and every day is an amazing feat in itself and often taken for granted,” said Anthony Simon, General Chairman, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, Transportation Division 505. “When they take extra steps to assist a customer who ends up in danger without hesitation such as this incident, it just exemplifies the dedication and commitment of our workers. I couldn’t be more proud.” 

Gregory Hartley has worked for the LIRR for 23 years, Kevin Rattigan has been an employee for 19 years, Larry Woods for 14 years, Stacy Augustine for 22 years and Shelwyn Hendy for 24 years.  


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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, April 25, 2021 2:28 AM
April 23, 2021

LIRR Conductor Reunites Customer With $107K Worth of Missing Jewelry Left on Train

See B-Roll Video of Reunion 

See Photos of Reunion 

A gem of a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) conductor was commended today for discovering and turning in a tray of $107,000 worth of engagement rings, some with embedded diamonds, left behind by a jeweler on his way to Port Washington Thursday evening, April 22. 

Assistant Conductor Jonathan Yellowday, a Murray Hill, Queens resident, was working on the 6:11 p.m. train from Penn Station to Port Washington when he found the case of jewelry in a plastic bag. The rings belong to jeweler Ed Eleasian who has an office in Midtown Manhattan. He was on his way home and didn’t realize he had left behind the tray of trinkets. 

Conductor Yellowday couldn’t believe what he had discovered and knew that he needed to get the items to the MTA police as soon as possible. “I got on the next train going back to Penn, turned it in, and the rest is history,” he said. 

Eleasian and his wife took the LIRR into Penn Station Friday afternoon to retrieve the items at the MTA PD District 4 office in Penn Station. The grateful jeweler was met by LIRR President Phil Eng, Conductor Yellowday, and MTA Board Member and Vice General Chairman of the Sheet Metal Air Rail Transportation Union (SMART) Vincent Tessitore where President Eng presented Yellowday with a commendation for his swift and thoughtful actions. 

“Not only did you find and return these 36 rings, but just think about the happiness of 36 couples down the road that will be joined together in happiness, and they’ll have a story to tell,” President Eng said in commending the conductor. “So, thank you for your heroic actions and saving the day for 36 future couples. I understand the value of these diamond rings, but everything found and returned to the customer is immensely important to them. You treated this just as you should have and it’s another proud day for us at the railroad.” 

Conductor Yellowday, who has been at Long Island Railroad for seven years, has seen many lost items during his tenure, but nothing close to the value of this find. 

After receiving a heartfelt hug from Eleasian today, Conductor Yellowday said, “I could only imagine what you were going through yesterday when you realized that you didn’t have your jewelry. You know when you get on the 6:11 you’re in good hands.” 

Attachments area
Preview YouTube video MTA Video Release - LIRR Conductor Reunites Customer with $100K of Missing Jewelry
MTA Video Release - LIRR Conductor Reunites Customer with $100K of Missing Jewelry

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, May 31, 2021 7:33 AM
May 28, 2021
Whether it’s a straight shot by MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to the Hamptons or a COVID shot in the arm, Penn Station is the place to begin a quick and reliable trip to the Hamptons this Memorial Day weekend. On the weekends, beginning today, the “Cannonball” Hamptons Express train returns, departing from Penn Station at 4:06 p.m. 
Approximately 585 customers boarded the one-seat, 95-minute ride from Penn Station to Westhampton for the first run of 2021. The Cannonball last ran in 2019 as 2020 express service to the Hamptons was canceled due to COVID restrictions. Customers may always use the LIRR Train Time app to track capacity and seat availability in real time to minimize crowding and maximize social distancing. Masks are required on all LIRR trains. 
“It’s so encouraging to go into Penn Station and see so many customers returning to the beloved Cannonball to start their Memorial Day weekends,” said Robert Free, LIRR Senior Vice President of Operations. “It shows that the railroad, and the region, are making a comeback.” 
The Cannonball, which saves customers 45 minutes of travel time, makes local stops from Westhampton to Montauk where the train arrives at 6:48 p.m. The one-way fare from New York City is $22.25 via eTix, ticket machines and the ticket office. Off-peak fares remain in effect on all trains, including during traditional peak travel times, until further notice. For more information about the LIRR summer schedule, visit this MTA webpage
In addition, customers traveling through Penn Station can receive a free, single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccination, at the pop-up site near the 34th Street Corridor. Those taking the shot will receive two one-way LIRR tickets. The site is open daily from 3 to 8 p.m., including Memorial Day,  and has been extended through June 5. 
Last year, the Authority urged essential travel only as New York was at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the Authority is encouraging New Yorkers to use mass transit as they move throughout New York City for the long weekend. The MTA launched its robust #TakeTheTrain, #TakeTheBus campaign on May 16 to encourage New Yorkers to return to the system and experience all that the New York City region has to offer. 
For more information about discount rail and admission packages to destinations throughout Long Island, visit 


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Posted by 54light15 on Monday, May 31, 2021 9:13 AM

Does the Cannonball still have parlor car service? I remember that they used a heavyweight car on that train when I was a kid. I used to see it whiz through Amityville every Friday. 

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, May 31, 2021 11:41 AM

Does the Cannonball still have parlor car service?

I think this 'Cannonball' is just limited-stop service with the typical bidirectional equipment.  

I still think it was a mistake to eliminate the bar-car service (built into some of the M1s) -- and I can't help but think there's enough reserve power on the Hamptons trains (which have top-and-tail power, not the FA cab/HEP cars of prior years) to allow private 'train club' equipment... rented out for a surcharge to 'other trips' made daily by the equipment, perhaps, along the lines of vacation-home rental.  So not impossible for the future... perhaps.

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 6:59 AM

There was beverage and snack service in the reserved Hamptons-Special Car two years ago.

It is not provided this year because of masking requiren\ment.

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 3:19 AM

Willis Avenue Bridge replacement in one week-end, video:

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 10:29 PM





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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, January 22, 2022 12:12 PM

MTA Announces Best LIRR On-Time Performance in Modern History
Infrastructure and Technology Upgrades Improve Overall Rider Experience  
LIRR Forward Plan Addresses Root Causes of Delays 
Record Pace of Capital Work Reduces Vehicular Bridge Strikes and Reduces Risk of Delays Resulting from Grade Crossing Incidents 
MTA Long Island Rail Road President Phil Eng today announced that the LIRR’s 2021 total annual on-time performance (OTP) was the best since modern record-keeping began in the 1970s. The annual total, 96.3% of trains operating on-time over the course of the year, breaks the previous record of 95.9% set in 2020 and represents a 5.5 percentage point improvement over 2018’s annual on-time rate of 90.4%.  
The historic improvements are the result of efforts to systematically identify and address the root causes of all train delays, and the MTA’s accelerated capital work on the railroad with crews pursuing an unprecedented 100 capital projects across the system to modernize and transform the railroad’s infrastructure. 
“The LIRR is delivering for our customers, the consistent and reliable service they expect and deserve.   We are proactively tackling longstanding issues through aggressive measures to eliminate, mitigate and prevent problems before they can become major disruptions,” LIRR President Eng said. “The LIRR Forward plan laid out the vision, but it was the LIRR workforce – working tirelessly and often thanklessly day in and day out – that deserves the credit for making the vision a reality.” 
The LIRR Forward Plan was initiated in April 2018 to address all train delays caused by matters within the railroad’s control, from combating switch and signal failures and broken rails to upgrading rail car reliability. 
Notable Improvements 
·  MTA Construction & Development’s LIRR Expansion Project has, over the past two years, eliminated eight railroad crossings along the railroad’s busiest corridor and raised the heights of seven bridges between Floral Park and Hicksville, improving safety, eliminating risk, and reducing the number of incidents of over-height trucks striking bridges and the resulting train delays.  
·  The double-tracking of the Ronkonkoma Branch has reduced congestion-related delays. 
·  An aggressive schedule of switch and signal upgrades paired with more robust rail testing using the Sperry Rail testing car, enabled the railroad to respond to problem areas before they caused a major disruption.  
·  High visibility safety delineators were installed at all 296 grade crossings, enabling motorists unfamiliar with roads near LIRR right of ways to be able to avoid incorrect suggestions from the car’s GPS which, in the past, has caused them to end up on the tracks. 
·  The LIRR responded to the many natural hazards that contributed in the past to train delays by eliminating 180 miles of overgrown vegetation and installing more weather resistant utility poles along LIRR right of ways.  
·  An aggressive leaf fighting strategy has reduced “slip-sliding” where emergency braking creates flat spots on train wheels, forcing the LIRR to take much-needed equipment out of service for repairs. 
·  The amount of low adhesion delays in Oct. 2021 through Nov. 2021 compared to the same time in 2018, was down by almost 50% dropping from more than 600 to 309. The reduced wheel damage also allowed crews to remove 60 fewer cars from service compared to 2019.
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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 12:31 AM
May 02, 2022
MTA Completes Replacement of Denton Ave Bridge in Garden City
Final Bridge of Seven that Were Replaced or Upgraded as Part of the LIRR Expansion Project
MTA Bringing Benefits to Public as LIRR Expansion Project Nears Completion  
MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber today announced that crews have completed putting in place a new bridge carrying the Long Island Rail Road main line over Denton Avenue/Tanners Pond Road in Garden City. The move is the final bridge to be replaced or upgraded as part of the LIRR Expansion project and ensures that the LIRR Expansion Project, which is adding a third track to the LIRR Main Line and eliminating eight at-grade railroad crossings, remains on time and on budget. In addition to a completely rebuilt structure with a third bay for a third track, the bridge has been raised from 12’9” to a national standard height of 14 feet, consistent with bridges along the Main Line corridor.
The new bridge accommodates the third track, that when complete this year, will run along a 9.8-mile stretch between Hicksville and Floral Park, creating a more reliable rail network that enables the LIRR to increase service on the Main Line and create unprecedented flexibility on the Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson and Oyster Bay branches.
“The LIRR Third Track Project is about creating a safer, more reliable, higher capacity railroad for the millions of people who use the LIRR each year, and this is a major milestone for the project," said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “In just two years, crews have replaced or upgraded seven bridges and eliminated eight at-grade crossings. The MTA is making the entire LIRR stronger, safer and better – not just for riders but for everyone living on the Island.”
“The new Denton Avenue Bridge is a major milestone for the LIRR Expansion Project, keeping this transformative project on track through innovative construction techniques and precise coordination across the MTA,” said MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer. “The innovative box-jacking technique used to place this bridge dramatically shortens the length of construction work and minimizes disruption, illustrating our commitment to delivering projects better, faster and cheaper.”
“There will be greater service flexibility because the third track eliminates old bottlenecks and when there’s an issue on the Main Line west of Hicksville, the LIRR will be able to route around it, reducing delays and increasing customer comfort. Bridge replacements are a big part of the project,” said LIRR Interim President Catherine Rinaldi. “The LIRR Expansion Project will be transformative for Long Islanders by creating new stations, eliminating inconvenient grade crossings that delay traffic, raising bridges that were constantly hit by trucks causing delays, cutting down noise and air pollution and creating a more robust reverse commute.”
In addition to addition of a third track to the main line, replacement or upgrading of seven bridges and the elimination of eight at-grade crossings, the LIRR Expansion project included numerous benefits:
·Station houses modernized and upgraded.
·Parking garages and retaining walls built.
·Longer-lasting concrete railroad ties installed.
·Old switches and signals replaced with modernized systems and new interlockings.
·Modernized electrical systems.
·Upgraded landscaping installed.
When the project is completed, five stations completely rebuilt, 10 miles of a third track installed and infrastructure such as power substations and interlockings built. Local residents will no longer have to deal with nuisances like the sounding of train horns and crossing bells. Traffic backups due to the closure of crossing gates and over height truck collisions with railroad bridges will also be a thing of past.
Together, the upgrades will help transform transportation across the region and provide a reliable, state-of-the-art rail system for Long Islanders. For more information on the 100+ projects that are part of the LIRR Expansion Project, visit
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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 9:40 PM

I assume the new triple track will squeeze back to the two tracks at Floral Park, where it parallels the two tracks of the Hempstead Branch up to (Queens Tower?)

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 4:13 AM

I think, but am not certain, that there will be  a new "plant" at that point, remotely-controlled high-speed switches, with all four tracks available to both the branch and the mainline westward at that point.  No "tower" of course, remotely controlled and largely automatic/entrance-exit.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, August 21, 2022 12:02 AM

MTA Announces the Installation of Wi-Fi and Enhanced Cellular Service at Jamaica Station

Installation Follows the Successful Roll-Out of Wi-Fi and Cellular Service in the Atlantic Terminal in 2021

New Service Will Enhance Customer Experience, Facilitate Use of New TrainTime App

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced today the successful installation of Wi-Fi and enhanced cell service at the Jamaica Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Station. Designed, installed and managed by Boingo Wireless, Wi-Fi and cellular service are now live and add coverage to the Jamaica Station platforms, waiting room, and the Sutphin Boulevard underpass. The initial wireless carrier providing service for Jamaica Station through this new system will be Verizon, with T-Mobile and AT&T coming online over the next several months. 

The new Wi-Fi and cellular service will enable customers to better use the new, seamless TrainTime app. Launched this week, the new TrainTime app includes schedule and train-tracking information for both LIRR and Metro-North, along with the ticket-buying functionality of MTA eTix. 

“Any day that we can make our customers’ journeys better is a good day,” said Metro-North President and Long Island Rail Road Interim President Catherine Rinaldi. “By adding Wi-Fi and improving cellular coverage at Jamaica Station, we are providing a better customer experience, and critically, making the new TrainTime app even more accessible for mobile ticketing.” 

Boingo was selected through a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process by the MTA as the neutral host provider for the LIRR Atlantic Branch to bring public-facing wireless connectivity across platforms and tunnels. The Atlantic Branch encompasses LIRR’s Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, Jamaica Station in Queens and the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel that connects the two locations. Boingo’s networks for LIRR are built and managed at no cost to the MTA and are designed to generate long-term revenue for the Authority with maximum cellular carrier participation. The installation of Wi-Fi at Jamaica Station comes after Boingo brought cellular coverage to the Long Island Rail Road Atlantic Branch Terminal and tunnels. 

“For over 20 years Boingo has proudly served the people of New York by keeping them connected at transit hubs, tunnels, airports, retail locations, office buildings and high-rise developments—from the World Trade Center Oculus, JFK, LaGuardia and Newark to the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, Port Authority Bus Terminal and more,” said Boingo CEO Mike Finley. “Launching cellular and Wi-Fi networks at Jamaica Station, one of the busiest stations in North America, is part of Boingo’s commitment to support digital transformation throughout the city and help world-class organizations like the MTA meet growing mobile connectivity demands.” 

Boingo networks leverage a neutral host model that efficiently manages carrier cellular networks and can deploy a range of wireless technologies across 5G, LTE, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6/6E, IoT and private networks under one managed platform. Verizon Wireless will begin providing service immediately through this system, with T-Mobile planned for this fall and AT&T scheduled for early 2023.


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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, August 31, 2022 5:09 AM

MTA Announces Opening of Second Section of LIRR Main Line Third Track 
New Section of Track Between Merillon Avenue and Mineola Gives LIRR More Flexibility During Disruptions 
LIRR Main Line Expansion Project Is on Schedule and $100 Million Below Budget

View Photos of the Third Track’s Second Section
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the opening of the 2.5-mile second section of the Long Island Rail Road’s new Main Line third track between the Merillon Avenue and Mineola stations. 
“Just two weeks after opening the first section of the Third Track, we’re celebrating the next step in the MTA’s historic, multi-billion dollar investment into the Long Island Rail Road,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “Third Track, along with Grand Central Madison opening later this year, will allow the LIRR to increase its service by 40%, boosting Long Island’s economy for generations to come.” 

"Extending the Third Track to Mineola means customers along the Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson/Huntington and Oyster Bay branches will see faster and more reliable service,” said LIRR Interim President and Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi. “This project not only benefits commuters but provides modern amenities, including dozens of station enhancements, and economic opportunities for the communities we serve.” 
"We’ve been able to deliver this project on time and under budget while continuing to run service for Long Islanders returning to public transit,” said MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer. “Third Track will be a model going forward for how the MTA can deliver benefits for our customers better, faster and cheaper." 
In addition to the additional track, the project included Mineola area elements, such as the elimination of the Willis Avenue and Main Street grade crossings, completion of the Mineola Harrison garage and replacement of the Mineola substation and motor generator.   
The LIRR Main Line Expansion Project is a major part of an unprecedented multi-billion dollar investment in 100 projects to transform and modernize the Long Island Rail Road that also includes the opening of service to Grand Central Madison this year, construction of a more spacious Penn Station LIRR Concourse and a new entrance at 33rd Street, renewal and upgrading of 36 stations and 17 bridges, elimination of eight at-grade railroad crossings, activation of the Positive Train Control safety system, addition of 13 miles of second track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, upgrades to 15 electrical substations, parking capacity increases, yard expansions, and more. In addition to these transformational investments, the MTA, together with NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak, plan to seek federal funding later this year to rebuild Penn Station into a modern, spacious, world-class single-level terminal that is open to natural light. 
Major construction on the third track began in late 2018 and when fully opened later this year commuters along the Main Line corridor will have a mass transit solution that reduces road congestion and improves safety. Long Island businesses will reap the benefits of true bi-directional LIRR service that will fuel economic opportunity, enhance the knowledge economy and provide increased access to jobs and entertainment. 
When combined with the opening of Grand Central Madison the LIRR's third track creates the ability to run more 45% more service and reduce delays along the Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma and Oyster Bay branches, all which run through Mineola, one of the top 10 busiest LIRR stations. As of May 2022, 136 trains ran through Mineola on weekdays. Under the new schedule, there will be 79 more trains, totaling 215. 
The construction of this third track from Floral Park to Hicksville will reduce train congestion and delays and enable true bi-directional service during peak hours with a more reliable rail network. Nearby residents no longer have to deal with the sounding of train horns and crossing bells. Traffic backups due to the closure of crossing gates and over-height truck collisions with railroad bridges are a thing of past.  
The first section of the LIRR’s Main Line Third Track opened on August 15 when Governor Hochul joined members of MTA leadership for a ceremonial ride along the three-mile stretch of track between Floral Park and Merillon Avenue stations, disembarking at the upgraded New Hyde Park Station. 
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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, September 8, 2022 1:51 AM
September 06, 2022

ICYMI: Governor Hochul Reveals Wider, Brighter LIRR Concourse at Penn Station


33rd Street Concourse Approximately Doubled in Width

18-Foot-High Illuminated Ceiling Runs from Seventh Avenue to Eighth Avenue Subways

Entire LIRR Concourse Project Will Be Complete Spring of 2023

Photos of LIRR Concourse Available Here

Governor Kathy Hochul today unveiled a dramatically more spacious Long Island Rail Road Concourse at Penn Station. Crews have widened the concourse to 57 feet from the previous 30 and have raised the ceilings to 18 feet. The concourse stretches from Seventh Avenue near the 1/2/3 subway to Eighth Avenue near the A/C/E subway and now features 9,500 square feet of programmable color changing LED ceiling lights. The reopening of the concourse - on time and on budget - is a step toward the full-scale reconstruction of Penn Station into a modern, spacious, world-class single-level terminal that is open to natural light. The reconstruction of the Penn Station LIRR concourse is one of three major projects that is transforming the experience of LIRR riders in the coming months, along with opening of service to Grand Central Madison and the opening of a new Main Line third track.  

"Penn Station isn't just the busiest transit hub in North America, it is also the beating heart of New York City, and for too long it hasn't provided an experience worthy of New Yorkers," Governor Hochul said. "Today, we're raising the roof on Penn Station — literally and figuratively - and paving the way for a better future as we unveil a wider, brighter Long Island Rail Road concourse. We're one step closer to making Penn a world-class transit hub and making New York an even more livable, and lovable, city." 

Each day, more than half of Penn Station's 600,000 users pass through the LIRR concourse, including the vast majority of Penn Station's over 200,000 daily LIRR riders. When the LIRR Concourse project is complete in early 2023, the customer experience at Penn Station will also be greatly enhanced by:  

  • New mechanical systems that allow for better air circulation and an expanded volume of fresh air.
  • Enhanced accessibility including a new elevator entrance, the replacement of four elevators and new elevator communication systems.
  • Intuitive wayfinding.
  • More retail and dining options.

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, "This wider, brighter LIRR concourse is just a glimpse of what is coming -- not only LIRR riders but for all New Yorkers. Governor Hochul has prioritized fixing Penn Station, and this project shows the MTA is ready to finish transforming the crummy terminal New Yorkers have been suffering with for 50-plus years into a world-class facility."   

Long Island Rail Road Interim President and Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi said, "The LIRR has taken another step towards its transformation into a modern, more flexible and more accessible railroad. The new elevated ceilings, bright lights, better air flow and improved accessibility create a more comfortable and welcoming space for everyone."   

MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer said, "The MTA continues to reach project milestones on-time and the unveiling of new, higher ceilings and the wider concourse is a sign of things to come at Penn Station when we finish this project and move on to the full reconstruction of the station. This is just the beginning of the substantial enhancements Penn Station riders will experience starting this fall."  

Today's unveiled LIRR Concourse project features $380 million in state funding with 30 percent of the contracts awarded to minority and women owned businesses. The total cost of the corridor amounts to $559 million.  

Construction began on the East End Gateway in June of 2019 which opened to the public in December 2020.   

In March 2022, seven massive low-hanging ten-ton beams informally known as "Head Knockers" - that historically limited the heights in Penn Station passageways to 6 feet, 8 inches were removed. The structures above Penn Station are now supported by an innovative structural framing system, installed by Skanska/AECOM.  



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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, October 24, 2022 6:07 AM

LIRR Crews Enter Final Stages of Testing Prior to Opening of GCM


Biggest LIRR Service Expansion in 112 Years Nearing Completion

Will Enable Largest Schedule Increase in LIRR History – 41% Increase in Number of Daily Trains

Video Released Highlighting Changes When New Tunnels, Tracks and Station Open

View Video 

Additional 269 Trains Will Roll Starting Opening Day

Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) crews have entered the final stages of testing escalators, elevators, HVAC systems and fire safety equipment necessary to launch service to Grand Central Madison, scheduled to start later this year. Historians would have to go back to Sept. 8, 1910, the day LIRR service opened to Penn Station, to find an equivalent to what will occur within a few weeks when new LIRR train service begins serving Grand Central Madison on Manhattan’s East Side. It’s also the largest schedule increase in LIRR history, with the LIRR adding 269 trains per weekday, a 41% systemwide service increase, to 936 trains per weekday from the current 667.

As the opening nears, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today released a video that that gives a behind-the-scenes look at how the new terminal was built. View Video Customers and rail fans alike can see historical photos, construction videos and informational graphics on everything related to the biggest LIRR service increase in 112 years and largest schedule increase ever -- condensed into a little over two minutes. 

The new route will also enable the LIRR to accommodate all anticipated customer demand to Manhattan when Amtrak begins a project in 2024 to rebuild its East River Tunnels to Penn Station. The project will take one of the four tunnels out of service, in sequence, over a period of three years, reducing LIRR capacity to Penn Station – capacity that the LIRR will be able to maintain to Manhattan with its new tunnels to Grand Central Madison. As ridership continues to recover following the pandemic, the new terminal allows the LIRR room for further growth in the years ahead. 

“In 2018 shortly after I came to the MTA to lead capital construction work, I evaluated this project and instituted a series of reforms that have allowed us to maintain the opening date of 2022,” said Janno Lieber, MTA Chair and CEO. “When the history of this challenging, massive project had been to delay the opening date any time a difficulty was encountered. I said NO - we can finish this project on time, and we will. And since that time, we have maintained that schedule and there has been no additional cost slippage on this important project.” can finish this project on time, and we will. And since that time there have been no cost increases on this project.”

“The LIRR continuously monitors ridership patterns and adjusts schedules to best meet evolving needs of customers, and the opening of a new terminal during recovery from a pandemic gives us an extraordinary opportunity to expand and re-imagine service,” said Catherine Rinaldi, Interim President of MTA Long Island Rail Road and President of MTA Metro-North Railroad. “Our off-peak and especially our weekend ridership recovery has been much stronger than expected, while the emergence of hybrid work patterns have led us to see a lower proportion of our customers traveling into Penn Station during peak hours than was the case before the pandemic, and our new timetables work to accommodate these trends.”

The opening of LIRR service to Grand Central Madison and the completion of the Main Line Third Track make reverse commuting from New York City to Long Island a realistic alternative for the first time under the proposed schedules. The change opens up new opportunities for tourism, schools, parks, and jobs on Long Island.

People traveling from Long Island to east Midtown – the center of the region’s knowledge economy – will save up to 40 minutes per day and will be able to avoid backtracking from the West Side. The new terminal is 750,000 square feet, hundreds of thousands of square feet larger than the existing Grand Central Terminal, and construction to build it has taken place with tunnel boring machines and even dynamite out of sight and without disrupting the busy business district above it.

Some of the other big benefits of the new service include: 

  • More evenly spaced trains and fewer large gaps in service  
  • More frequent service to Queens  
  • More frequent service on the Ronkonkoma and West Hempstead branches   
  • 28% increase in Brooklyn service 
  • Decreased travel times from Long Island to Manhattan  
  • Less crowding at Penn Station 

The project completion complements the recent completion – on time and trending $100 million under budget – of the LIRR Main Line Third Track between Floral Park and Hicksville. That $2.5 billion megaproject was done with robust community input and included the upgrading of five stations, elimination of eight railroad crossings, upgrading of more than a half dozen bridges on the corridor, enhancements to substations, and community benefits including landscaping and sound attenuation walls. It enables the LIRR to more quickly work around any service disruptions and paves the way for the service increases associated with Grand Central Madison, including the reverse-peak service increases.


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