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Yaphank LIRR station should be relocated farther east, officials say

Flanked by town board members and other local

Flanked by town board members and other local officails, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, center, speaks at a press conference on Thursday, July 21, 2016, where he called on the LIRR and MTA to move the Yaphank LIRR station further east to a spot at the Brookhaven Technology Park in Shirley, near where they are standing. Credit: Ed Betz

Elected officials from Brookhaven Town and the East End on Thursday called on the Long Island Rail Road to move the little-used Yaphank train station further east to an industrial park on the William Floyd Parkway.

Moving the Yaphank station to the Brookhaven Technology Center would improve service in a region of Long Island that has seen a population growth spurt in recent years due to new construction, Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said at a news conference at the park.

Romaine also called for electrifying the rails from Ronkonkoma, where electrification currently ends, to Riverhead. Yaphank is part of the LIRR’s Ronkonkoma line.

“We are in the 21st century and we’re dealing with 19th-century technology on the LIRR — diesel,” Romaine said. “We’re asking for a 21st-century technology, which is electrification.”

In a statement Thursday, Long Island Rail Road officials said they are considering moving the Yaphank station, but offered no details.

“MTA Long Island Rail Road is committed to working with the Town of Brookhaven and Suffolk County in evaluating the potential relocation of Yaphank station to complement and support local development plans. As part of the railroad’s ongoing Network Strategy Study, long-term investments such as electrification and other infrastructure improvements are being analyzed. We welcome the ideas of all parties involved as part of the study process,” LIRR officials said.

LIRR officials previously have said electrifying railroad tracks costs about $18 million per mile. It’s about 26 miles from Ronkonkoma to Riverhead.

Romaine was backed by Assemb. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) and Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor), who represent the East End in the state Legislature.

“We certainly have an antiquated schedule and an antiquated system,” Palumbo said. “Electrification to Riverhead is crucial.”

The current Yaphank station is off Exit 67 of the Long Island Expressway in a remote spot near Suffolk County office buildings. Average daily weekday ridership from the station is 30, LIRR officials said.

Romaine and other officials want to move the station a few miles east to the industrial park, off Exit 68 of the LIE.

Brookhaven officials said a new Yaphank station would better serve residents of communities such as Mount Sinai, Manorville and Shoreham, many of whom use the Ronkonkoma train station.

Brian Ferruggiari, of Yonkers-based developer AVR Realty, which is building a mixed-use development in Yaphank, said the current Yaphank stop has a dirt parking lot and “is in an inconvenient and out-of-the-way location” that is difficult to find.

“I can’t tell you how long it took me to find it,” while AVR was planning the development, he said.

A new train station and electrification also could spur economic development and boost industrial parks in Yaphank and Riverhead, officials said.

With Alfonso Castillo

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