Long Island Rail Road commuters have a few more options to get to and from work, as regular service was restored Monday on several trains that had been impacted by construction work in Queens.
Twenty-one LIRR morning and evening rush-hour trains had undergone various changes because of the planned work since the first week in January. Some Penn Station-bound trains were diverted instead to Atlantic Terminal or terminated at Jamaica station, some departed a few minutes earlier than usual, and others skipped some regular stops.
The railroad said, as of Monday morning, all the affected trains would “resume their usual departure times and stopping patterns.”
The planned construction work entailed moving existing tracks at the busy Harold Interlocking in Queens to accommodate a portal to the newly bored tunnels connecting the railroad to Grand Central Terminal as part of the MTA’s $11.2 billion East Side Access project, which is scheduled for completion in 2022.
The LIRR said that over the last month crews rebuilt about 1,850 feet of two tracks at Harold and installed two switches that are now in service.
But the schedule changes Monday weren’t all good news for commuters. Midday service between Babylon and Montauk is suspended from Monday until Thursday, as the railroad conducts special ultrasonic testing on its rails to look for defects. Buses replace trains in both directions from 9:56 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
Also this week, commuters will have an opportunity to voice their concerns directly to LIRR upper management, as the railroad hosts its latest “Customer Conversation” forum Wednesday at William P. Bennett Hicksville Community Center. Doors open at 6 p.m., and LIRR president Phillip Eng will give a presentation at 7 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer period.
Another event is scheduled for Feb. 13 in Wyandanch. In a statement, Eng called the forums “a chance for customers to speak face to face with senior LIRR staff, including myself, who are responsible for delivering the service customers not only expect, but deserve.”