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LIRR: Full service returns to Penn Station, but only for six weeks

From July 1 until Labor Day, seven out of 144 morning rush-hour trains and seven out of 130 evening rush-hour trains will be canceled or diverted.

Penn Station, where service disruptions in place since

Penn Station, where service disruptions in place since January for Long Island Rail Road commuters, will end later this month. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

The LIRR will resume full service later this month after canceling and detouring several rush-hour trains since January, but the restored service levels won’t last long.

The railroad announced Thursday that after a six-week reprieve from the planned service reductions, Amtrak’s next round of infrastructure repairs at Penn Station again will require curtailing peak period service throughout most of the summer. The resulting service will be comparable to current levels, the LIRR said.

From July 1 until Labor Day, seven out of 144 morning rush-hour trains and seven out of 130 evening rush-hour trains will be canceled or diverted.

By adding five trains just outside the morning and evening peak periods, and also adding cars to some trains, the LIRR said it will maintain current seating capacity.

In an interview Thursday, LIRR president Phillip Eng expressed his support for Amtrak’s project, and said the increased maintenance and renewal efforts at Penn have coincided with a measurable reduction in delays caused by infrastructure issues at the station.

Eng said the LIRR worked closely with Amtrak to ensure the impacts to riders will be minimal.

“We worked to make sure that the affected customers have options,” Eng said.

It will be the third consecutive summer that Amtrak work at Penn is displacing some LIRR commuters, dating to 2017’s “summer of hell,” as labeled by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, when a series of infrastructure failures at Penn resulted in Amtrak launching its ongoing renewal effort at the 109-year-old transit hub. The original summer effort resulted in the LIRR reducing rush-hour service by about 20 percent and supplementing trains with shuttle buses and ferries.

More recently, Amtrak’s work at Penn, which has included the replacement of several tracks and switches, has resulted in more modest service reductions there. The most recent phase of the work, which began in January, resulted in 10 rush-hour trains being canceled or diverted.

The LIRR announced Wednesday that those 10 trains will be restored, and “full, normal” service will resume May 20 and continue until the summer disruptions begin six weeks later. Full details of those changes are available through the LIRR’s website.

Amtrak, which owns and operates Penn Station, said Thursday that its latest, $30 million project will entail replacing a complex track switching system on the east end of the station known as “JO Interlocking.” The work will require taking two of Penn’s 21 tracks out of service, LIRR officials said.

“Amtrak has made record levels of capital investment to improve the reliability of our infrastructure and overall customer experience, and we continue to do so in New York Penn Station for all the users of this important station,” Amtrak president and CEO Richard Anderson said. “We appreciate the continued support and confidence from our commuter partners and patience from our customers as we continue to deliver this important work safely, on time and within budget, improving the commutes for the many users of Penn Station.”

LIRR CHANGES

The full list of the LIRR schedule changes lasting from July 1 to Sept. 2:

Babylon Branch

Westbound

The 6:56 a.m. train from Wantagh to Penn Station will be diverted to Atlantic Terminal.

The 8:25 a.m. train from Freeport to Penn Station will be diverted to Atlantic Terminal.

A 5:43 a.m. train from Freeport to Penn Station will be added and operate on weekdays during this period.

The 7:10 a.m. train from Babylon to Penn Station will not operate during this period.

To help accommodate these customers, some scheduled stops from this train will be added to the 7:21 a.m. train from Babylon to Penn Station, and other stops will be added to the 7:44 a.m. train from Merrick to Penn Station.

Eastbound

A 7:02 p.m. train from Hunterspoint Avenue to Freeport will be added and operate on weekdays this period.

A 3:31 p.m. train from Penn Station to Babylon will be added and operate on weekdays this period.

The 4:34 p.m. train from Penn Station to Babylon will not operate during this period. Customers can board the 4:37 p.m. train to Wantagh, with added stops.

The 5:19 p.m. train from Penn Station to Wantagh will not operate during this period. Customers can board the 5:24 p.m. train to Freeport, with added stops.

The 5:40 p.m. train from Penn Station to Seaford will not operate during this period. Customers can board the 5:47 p.m. train to Freeport, with added stops.

Far Rockaway Branch

Westbound

The 8:10 a.m. train from Far Rockaway to Penn Station will not operate during this period. Customers can board the 8:21 a.m. train from Far Rockaway to Penn Station with added stops.

Eastbound

The 4:42 p.m. train from Penn Station to Far Rockaway will originate at Atlantic Terminal.

The 5:32 p.m. train from Penn Station to Far Rockaway will originate at Jamaica. To reach this train from Penn Station, customers can board the 5:24 p.m. Freeport train from Penn Station, and change at Jamaica.

Hempstead Branch

Westbound

The 7:12 a.m. train from Hempstead to Penn Station will be diverted to Atlantic Terminal.

Eastbound

The 5:04 p.m. train from Penn Station to Hempstead will originate at Jamaica. To reach this train from Penn Station, customers can board the 5:01 p.m. Farmingdale train from Penn Station, and change at Jamaica.

The 5:38 p.m. train from Penn Station to Hempstead will originate at Atlantic Terminal.

Long Beach Branch

Westbound

The 8:03 a.m. train from Long Beach to Penn Station will be diverted to Atlantic Terminal.

Montauk Branch

Westbound

The 6:21 a.m. train from Speonk to Penn Station will depart Speonk approximately 5 minutes earlier.

Eastbound

The 6:16 a.m. train from Speonk to Montauk will depart Speonk approximately 5 minutes earlier.

Ronkonkoma Branch

Westbound

A 5:12 a.m. train from Farmingdale to Penn Station will be added and operate on weekdays during this period, stopping at Bethpage (5:16 a.m.), Hicksville (5:22 a.m.), Mineola (5:30 a.m.) and Jamaica (5:46 a.m.), arriving Penn Station at 6:05 a.m.

The 6:54 a.m. train from Central Islip to Penn Station will terminate at Jamaica Station.

Eastbound

The 1:59 p.m. train from Penn Station to Ronkonkoma, which normally operates on Holiday Eves, will operate on weekdays during this period on an adjusted schedule.

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