Starting Monday, July 9, work associated with the MTA Long Island Rail Road's East Side Access Project will affect some eastbound evening rush hour service for up to one month.
According to the MTA, as a tunnel boring machine performs excavation work on the Queens side of the East River Tunnels, an important switch will be taken out of service. This work will eliminate one of the three eastbound tracks normally used during the p.m. peak period.
Long Island Rail Road trains will operate using two main tracks between Penn Station and Jamaica instead of three during this time period. This reduction in capacity will result the cancellation/combination of three evening rush hour trains – two on the Babylon Branch and one on the Long Beach Branch.
In addition, the schedules of four evening rush hour trains will be modified to allow eight other evening rush hour trains to be re-routed to the two remaining Main Line tracks.
The loss of the switch and the access it provides to one of the eastbound tracks will temporarily reduce the LIRR's operational flexibility and significantly increase the impact of a service disruption, should one occur.
The two cancelled p.m. peak eastbound trains on the Babylon Branch are:
- The 4:52 p.m. train from Penn Station to Babylon will be canceled. Customers will be on the 5:03 p.m. train from Penn Station, making all stops to Babylon.
- The 5:40 p.m. train from Penn Station to will be canceled. Customers will be on the 5:47 p.m. train from Penn Station, which will make all stops from Rockville Centre to Seaford.
The threee afternoon peak Babylon Branch trains with adjusted schedules include:
- The 5:36 p.m. train from Penn Station to Babylon, which will depart Penn Station one minute later (at 5:37 p.m.) and arrive Babylon two minutes later at 6:42 p.m.
- The 5:59 p.m. train from Penn Station to Babylon will arrive at Babylon five minutes later at 7:04 p.m.
- The 6:44 p.m. train from Babylon to Patchogue will operate two minutes later, departing Babylon at 6:46 p.m. and arriving Patchogue at 7:16 p.m. as a result of its connecting train from Penn Station (the 5:37 p.m.) arriving two minutes later at Babylon.
Customers on the affected Babylon Branch trains will experience up to 11 minutes of additional travel time, according to MTA officials.