LIRR West Hempstead branch weekend service could return this summer

A sign advising potential LIRR riders that weekend A sign advising potential LIRR riders that weekend service has been eliminated hangs on a ticket vending machine at the West Hempstead LIRR station Saturday morning, Sept. 18, 2010. Photo Credit: Kevin P Coughlin

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Weekend Long Island Rail Road service on the West Hempstead branch could soon return, MTA officials said Monday.

At a Manhattan meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's LIRR Committee Monday, railroad president Helena Williams and MTA board member Mitchell Pally both said the service, eliminated in 2010, will be a top priority when the agency considers adding and restoring some trains this summer.

"We look forward to the day that we can provide seven-day-a-week service to West Hempstead, and we think that day won't be too far in the future," Williams said.

"We have no doubt it will happen in July -- I hope," Pally added.

The LIRR axed weekend West Hempstead service four years ago as part of a larger effort to close a $900 million budget gap. The West Hempstead cutback saved $474,000 a year, officials said at the time.

LIRR advised the 350 weekend customers who traveled to the branch's stations at that time to use the Long Beach and Hempstead lines.

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West Hempstead Civic Association president Rosalie Norton said several new commercial and residential developments have emerged since the weekend service was cut, including the West 130 luxury apartment complex adjacent to the West Hempstead LIRR station, and the New York Equestrian Center on Eagle Avenue.

Malverne Mayor Patricia McDonald, who also spoke at the meeting, noted that the lack of a weekend schedule on the line also affects riders on holidays and when the LIRR switches to a weekend schedule during a snowstorms.

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