The Jamaica LIRR station on Jan. 8. The railroad warned...

The Jamaica LIRR station on Jan. 8. The railroad warned of time changes for trains on three weekends in April. Credit: Corey Sipkin

Major service changes to three LIRR branches have been planned for three weekends this month as crews upgrade and test critical parts of the commuter rail infrastructure.

Work started Friday on four big projects will affect the Long Beach, Port Jefferson and Port Washington branches, the Long Island Rail Road announced in advising riders to check online or by phone for new schedules. Train times on other branches may also differ by up to seven minutes, the LIRR said.

On the Long Beach branch, stations between Valley Stream and Long Beach will be out of service from 10:30 p.m. Friday to 3:01 a.m. Monday for this weekend and the following two, the railroad said. Rail ties will be replaced on the Reynolds Channel bridge, which connects Island Park to the City of Long Beach, officials said. Customers will be accommodated by buses, LIRR said.

Also for the next three weekends, work on the Port Washington branch between Woodside and Bayside will pave the way for the positive train control system, a federally required project for crash prevention. Trains will operate every hour instead of every half-hour, but train service will be provided April 14-15 for those going to the Mets games.

Port Jefferson branch riders will see workers prepare the rail bed area between Woodbury and Huntington for new rails to be installed, part of the LIRR’s ongoing track renewal program. Expect temporary road closures of up to 30 minutes at the Avery Road crossing in Woodbury and the East Gate Drive, West Rogues Path, Oakwood Road and West 11th Street crossings in Huntington during the project, from 2:30 a.m. Saturdays to 12:45 a.m. Sundays this weekend and the next, the LIRR said.

Workers will be testing the new signal system at Harold Interlocking, located in Queens and considered the nation’s busiest railroad junction, as it serves Amtrak, LIRR and New Jersey Transit. These tests advance the East Side Access project to connect the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal and train arrival and departure times will be adjusted during the work, from 10:18 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, with a repeat for April 13-15, the LIRR said.

The junction’s new signal system will cut down on the congestion as trains are routed to Penn Station, the LIRR said. The new system replaces a hard-wired relay-based system with microprocessor technology, which has built-in redundancies, the railroad said.

Some new timetables are available now at and more will be added later, the LIRR said.

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