As East Side Access work continues in New York City, LIRR customers are going to see some service changes — and a few service restorations — go into effect this weekend, the MTA announced.
The changes, slated to begin Saturday, are expected to last through Sept. 3 as crews relocate hundreds of feet of track by several yards in Sunnyside, Queens, to make space for an entrance to the newly constructed tunnel to Grand Central Terminal. The work also includes track switch reconfiguration and reconstruction.
“This track relocation reflects real, tangible progress at East Side Access — bringing us another step closer to starting LIRR service to Grand Central,” said Janno Lieber, MTA chief development officer. “After this step is completed, the contract to build the tunnel entrance, which will begin active construction this fall, is the last major contract needed for the start of service.”
LIRR changes due to East Side Access work
Here are the service changes that will be in effect from July 21 through Sept. 3 as part of this phase of East Side Access work.
• Far Rockaway/Long Beach branches
The 8:03 a.m. from Valley Stream (stopping at Rosedale, Laurelton, Locust Manor, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Penn Station) will run express through Woodside.
• Montauk Branch
The 5:39 a.m. from Montauk to Hunterspoint Avenue and Long Island City will terminate at Jamaica at 8:17 a.m. Customers going to Hunterspoint Avenue or Long Island City can take the 8:25 a.m. from Jamaica to Hunterspoint Avenue, which will add a stop at Long Island City.
• Port Washington branch
The 8:21 a.m. from Penn Station, making all local stops to Port Washington, will be canceled. Alternate trains depart Penn Station at 7:55 a.m. or 8:51 a.m.
The 8:45 a.m. train from Port Washington, running express after Great Neck, will be canceled. Alternate trains depart Port Washington at 8:18 a.m. and 9:11 a.m.
The 4:22 p.m. train from Penn Station to Great Neck, Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington will be canceled. Customers can take the 4:25 p.m. to Great Neck, which will add stops at Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington.
The 5 p.m. from Port Washington, making all local stops except Plandome and Murray Hill, will be canceled. Alternate trains depart Port Washington at 4:36 p.m. and 5:23 p.m. Additional service is also available from Great Neck departing at 5:21 p.m., making all local stops to Flushing-Main Street and Penn Station.
The 5:26 p.m. from Penn Station to Great Neck, Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington will be canceled. Customers can take the 5:29 p.m. train to Great Neck, which will add stops at Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington.
The 7:01 p.m. from Penn Station to Bayside, Great Neck, Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington will be canceled. Customers can take the 7:14 p.m. train to Great Neck, which will add stops at Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington.
All westbound LIRR trains that normally depart from Track 1 at Woodside will depart from Track 2 instead.
• Ronkonkoma Branch
The 1:32 p.m. to Farmingdale will not run. Alternate eastbound train service to Ronkonkoma will depart Penn Station 18 minutes earlier or 42 minutes later.
(As a result of this East Side Access work, five LIRR trains that were rerouted from Penn Station will now resume service there. Check mta.info for specifics.)
What is East Side Access?
The MTA’s East Side Access project, which has roots back to the 1950s, will connect the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal. The railroad currently operates only to Penn Station. When complete, the project expected to cost more than $10 billion will serve roughly 162,000 customers each day and will feature an eight-track terminal and concourse beneath Grand Central. East Side Access is slated to open by 2023.