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LIRR: Construction work to disrupt service for 2 months, starting Jan. 7

MTA officials said the changes are necessary as it carries out construction work at the Harold Interlocking in Queens as part of its East Side Access project and as Amtrak performs infrastructure renewal work on Track 18 in Penn. 

Construction work will once again disrupt Long Island Rail Road rush-hour service into and out of Penn Station starting next month, the LIRR said Friday. 

New timetables that take effect on Jan. 7 include the diversion or cancellation of seven morning peak trains and six evening peak trains. Although the LIRR's timetable will be in effect until March, the railroad says it anticipates the same or similar changes will be in effect until May as Amtrak continues its planned work at Penn Station.

The railroad noted that it will add five trains just outside the rush hours to accommodate displaced riders and also add cars to other peak trains — limiting the reduction in seating capacity to less than one percent. 

MTA officials said the changes are necessary as it carries out construction work at the Harold Interlocking in Queens as part of its East Side Access project and as Amtrak performs infrastructure renewal work on Track 18 in Penn. 

“Amtrak’s Penn Station renewal work is critical to the LIRR’s continued operation to Manhattan’s West Side, and needs to be done as quickly as possible,” LIRR president Phillip Eng said in a statement. “We appreciate our customers’ patience as this important infrastructure work continues.”

Amtrak stepped up efforts to renew the 113-year-old Penn Station after a series of infrastructure failures in the spring of 2017. The work disrupted LIRR service from July 2017 until September of 2018. 

In a statement, an Amtrak spokesman said the agency has collaborated with the LIRR to minimize the impact on service. 

“We would like to thank LIRR customers for their patience and apologize for any inconvenience during these two months,” Amtrak said. “We remain committed to finishing these projects on time, within budget and safely, with the goal of improving New York Penn Station’s infrastructure operations performance and reliability.”

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