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LIRR: Near-Normal Weekday Service Now on All Branches

Amtrak repairs to East River Tunnels continue, resulting in ongoing reduced East River Tunnel capacity

With the addition of electric train service on the Long Beach Branch Sunday, the LIRR is now operating a near-normal weekday and regular weekend schedule on all branches systemwide.

Starting Monday, Nov. 26, with the addition of the Long Beach electric service, the LIRR’s weekday schedule represents an average 80 percent of the LIRR’s regular rush hour capacity.

Twenty-six of the LIRR’s 143 morning rush hour trains will be canceled or diverted to another terminal. In the evening rush hour, of the 127 trains the LIRR operates, 27 will be canceled.

Overall, across the entire day, the adjustments provide for approximately 92 percent of normal weekday service capacity.

“The Long Island Rail Road’s Long Beach Branch was not spared the devastation that was brought upon Long Beach and the surrounding communities by Sandy,” Governor Cuomo said. “I commend the intensive efforts made by the LIRR to clean, repair and replace the critical components in the flood-damaged electrical substations and signal equipment to restore the vital transportation link the Railroad provides as these hard-hit communities begin to rebuild.”

Amtrak is continuing their work to make permanent repairs to the signal system in two of their East River tunnels flooded during the superstorm. The temporary repairs, which allowed the tunnels to be reopened earlier this month, reduces the number of trains that can travel through the tunnels. Amtrak estimates that the repair to the salt water-damaged signal system is not expected to be completed until the end of the year. The LIRR has been in close contact with Amtrak on the repair plan and effort.

As a result of the reduced tunnel capacity, the LIRR’s weekday schedule continues to include canceled and/or diverted trains during the morning and evening rush hours through the end of the year.

LIRR Customers Should Anticipate Crowding

Because service continues to be limited on weekdays, waits will be longer and trains will be more crowded. Customers are advised to allow extra travel time, expect 10-15 minute delays. In the evening rush hour, customers should expect crowded conditions in Penn Station. Customers are advised to stagger work hours and travel in off-peak hours, if possible, to help reduced crowding in the peak periods.

For More Information
Customers should monitor news reports, the MTA website, www.mta.info, and sign up for free E-Alerts for updates on LIRR service. Customers can also contact the LIRR's Travel Information Center by calling 511, the New York State Travel Information Line, and say: Long Island Rail Road. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use your preferred relay service provider for the free 711 relay to reach LIRR at 511.

Arguendo November 26, 2012 at 12:54 PM
The new "normal" being half of peak hour departures canceled, every express converted to a milk run.
Joe November 26, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Patch needs a bit more research on doing an article, it is FAR from normal as there are a string of canceled trains everyday and no planned date for when they will come back. But LIRR is very quick to point out its not them, well for now!
Larry Warshaw November 26, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Until the 7:41 AM is back it's not normal. 37 minutes between trains in the morning rush hour. An absolute joke. It's still the Long Island Fail Road.
A Resident November 26, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Approx 20 canceled trains in the AM and PM rush hour. How is this near normal. The biggest joke was they claimed 95.13% ontime performance for Oct even though there was NO service the last few days. Apparently, canceled trains aren't factored into the %. Bogus!
Chris Wendt November 26, 2012 at 04:02 PM
The trains have been running fairly well and until this morning, very crowded during rush hours. I get where I am going each morning and return every evening. No complaints. None. I bought my November monthly ticket the day before the storm, and was unable to use it for over a week, but I am not looking for a refund; I had budgeted the expense and it was prepaid through Transit Check. This morning, with Long Beach electric train service restored and all of those people no longer riding the Babylon line, my train out of Wantagh was not crowded. That is a good thing. At Jamaica the train was about normally loaded but not crammed-full; again, a good thing. I think that setting realistic expectations can go a long way to relieveing or even avoiding personal stress and frustration over this sort of situation. I have a heart condition and cannot afford to stress myself over this kind of thing. As I said, I get on the train in the morning and go to work, then I get on the train in the evening and come home. Sometimes I hum to myself that old sixties tune, maybe you remember it: "My baby takes the morning train; he works from nine to five; and then he takes another home again." Just like that. People sometimes ask me what train I catch, and I always reply, "Which ever one comes next". Absolutely no stress on me, Get it? Try it!
Mary November 26, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I agree with all the comments - with no express trains and very limited eastbound service at night, service is far from normal. LIRR should consider adding back some express service to Port.
K. November 26, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Given the current National leadership, one would expect that "the trains will run on time".
John Fay November 26, 2012 at 05:27 PM
And there were 4 Amtrak tunnels and then there were 2 Amtrak tunnels (MAJOR SUPERSTOREM CREATING DAMAGING SALT WATER FLOODS). The damaging storm was less than a month ago. I think they are doing pretty good considering the major damage this storm created! "Amtrak is continuing their work to make permanent repairs to the signal system in two of their East River tunnels flooded during the superstorm. The temporary repairs, which allowed the tunnels to be reopened earlier this month, reduces the number of trains that can travel through the tunnels". "As a result of the reduced tunnel capacity, the LIRR’s weekday schedule continues to include canceled and/or diverted trains during the morning and evening rush hours through the end of the year"
Smuts November 26, 2012 at 05:31 PM
What a TOOL !!
John Fay November 26, 2012 at 05:40 PM
What lie?
Smuts November 26, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Paul --- are you the Paul MIchael the beautician ?? Dont you have hair to do ?
John Fay November 26, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Why, would you like to make an appointment?
Joe November 26, 2012 at 06:44 PM
There is the issue. Transit had 7 tunnels flooded, yet they are all back online within a week, yet no word on Amtrak when those 2 will be back, I mean its signal system, we are not asking them to redig the tunnel!
Laura Johnson November 26, 2012 at 06:46 PM
The return eastbound commute on the Port Washington branch between 5 and 7 PM has been awful. It is not just that the express trains have gone local, these new locals are running much slower and are much more crowded, adding 15-20 minutes and stress as everyone rushes and pushes to find a seat. If you can commute outside this window, I highly recommend it.
Jesse Conover November 26, 2012 at 11:59 PM
All local trains standing room only is not normal!!!!
JFS November 27, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Oh, the poor Port Washington commuters don't have their train awaiting them 15 minutes before departure. Well, welcome to the other side of the tracks, Buffy.
Chris Wendt November 27, 2012 at 10:52 AM
@ Jesse Conover re: "All local trains standing room only is not normal!" It appears that you are not a patron of NYC Transit, a/k/a the subways and buses, where, all local trains (and buses) standing room only is the rush hour normal. Think of this as a capacity problem, where only so many trains can go through a tunnel every hour. The schedules of three railroads and hundreds of thousand of commuters are built around the normal capacity of four operating tunnels. When one tunnel is unavailable, that capacity, the number of trains per hour, is reduced by 25%. When two tunnels are unavailable, the maximum number of trains per hour is cut in half. When you cut the possible number of trains per hour in half, two things happen: fewer seats are moving under the East River during rush hour, and because the operating tunnels are now congested to their maximum capacity and that capacity has to be shared among three railroads, the trains (and their seats and their standing room only) move slower than normal for both safety and organization (fairness to the commuters of LIRR, Amtrak, and NJ Transit). We all know the score, or we should by now. Plan accordingly. There are trains leaving your station earlier than the one you used to catch, or later than the one you used to catch. Either way, earlier or later on your part, enhances the experience with a likely seat and a more leisurely ride, and less stress on you about making that meeting. Stay flexible; lighten up.
Old Viking November 27, 2012 at 12:06 PM
I truly wonder why internet commentary always devolves into mindless ****fights. The article's title says that the LIRR 's weekday commuter service is back to near mormal. The Port Washingontonians here are saying what they have encountered is not normal. Case closed.
Old Viking November 27, 2012 at 12:08 PM
oops, Port Washingtonians (can u edit that pre-approval?)
Old Viking November 27, 2012 at 12:10 PM
& normal not mormal! those who r whining about port people telling it like it is, really should just stfu imho.
Arguendo November 27, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Dumb down your expectations if you so choose. Not everyone cares to.
JFS November 27, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Port people whining about no express service when people are still out of their homes is just normal. And pathetic.
Candide08 November 27, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Near-Normal ? What does that even mean? Does the LIRR just make up terms to try to sound good - when the service itself is bad?
Chris Wendt November 27, 2012 at 02:40 PM
But, service is really pretty good. I arrived late at Penn Station off the E Train yesterday afternoon. The 4:37 Babylon was closing its doors to depart exactly on time. The conductor saw me coming down the stairs and held the door open for me and a few other passengers, which we really appreciated. The train was crowded but I got a seat. We arrived in Wantagh within the 5-minute window of being "on-time". (I measure this by the time on the Wantagh Fire Department sign which I walk past on my way home each day). The fare collector was courteous and good natured duiring the ride. I thought the service was fine, all things considered. Expensive, but just fine.
Chris Wendt November 27, 2012 at 02:49 PM
@ Arguendo re: "Dumb down your expectations if you so choose. Not everyone cares to." Which is the dumber expectation? (1) Recovering from a major catastrophic storm, the largest commuter railroad in the country has no delays and no crowds and is running its full slate of express trains? Or... (2) Recovering from a major catastrophic storm, the largest commuter railroad in the country is experiencing some delays and crowded conditions, and to accommodate as many people as possible they have made all express trains stop at local stations in order to get *everyone* to where they need to go? Expectation (1) is egocentric and bound to generate stress and frustration because it is just not reasonable or realistic. Expectaion (2) is less stressful and should be less frustrating because it is not only realistic, but it is real, not delusional like expectation (1).
Arguendo November 27, 2012 at 03:01 PM
"Which is the dumber expectation?" All yours, pal.
Michael Ragan November 27, 2012 at 03:04 PM
"Near normal" = only ONE hour late, as usual.
John Fay November 27, 2012 at 06:11 PM
@Joe. Not all of Transits lines are up and running. Example, the R Train stopped running between Manhattan and Brooklyn do to damage done from the SUPER STORM to the Montague Street TUNNEL (It was flooded). We Manhattan bound commuters are lucky not all the tunnels were damaged do to this storm. With that said, I would say the LIRR is doing a pretty good job with the tunnel capacity down on two of the four Amtrak tunnels. It’s impossible to have normal commuting when two of the four Amtrak tunnels are not running to full capacity. It could be a LOT worse. To Quote Chris Wendt, “Stay flexible; lighten up” everyone.
Candide08 November 27, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Oh, so because your ONE train was OK it means everyone else's is too? The LIRR is only running 70% of full service and the East River Tunnels may not be fixed until mid January. If that's your definition of pretty good I'd hate to see what bad is.
Chris Wendt November 28, 2012 at 11:18 AM
@ Candide08 re: "...The LIRR is only running 70% of full service and the East River Tunnels may not be fixed until mid January...." 50% of tunnels are unavailable; LIRR is running 70% of full service; 70% - 50% = 20% better capacity utilization than should be expected. The Long Beach Branch had been out of service completely, then partial diesel service was initiated with LB-Lynbrook shuttles, and now electric service is operating LB-NYC, relieving the Babylon Branch from crowding off the LB Branch. The other factor is the East River Tunnels which are owned, operated, and maintained by Amtrak. The tunnels are not the property or the responsibility of the MTA or LIRR, and LIRR has no ability nor authority to repair them. Now, you have correctly forecast the situation with those tunnels, possibly out until mid-January. Perhaps one will be restored sooner. Remember that the two remaining tunnels are shared by Amtrak, NJ Transit, and LIRR. Amtrak & NJT stage their empty trains on the Queens side of the tunnels in the Sunnyside Railroad Yard. For NJT. this is most of their entire evening rush hour lineup. Armed with this information, we should be able to set realistic expectations for ourselves about train crowding, cancellations, and delays and plan accordingly for at least the next month. Yesterday my AM train was cancelled, I got a Brooklyn train and changed at Jamaica. My PM train was late leaving Penn and arrived 10 minutes late in Wantagh. No big deal.

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