Extra LIRR Service For Passover & Good Friday

The MTA Long Island Rail Road has announced they will be providing extra service for Passover & Good Friday. Here are the details:

The Long Island Rail Road will provide additional eastbound service on Monday, April 14, and Friday, April 18 for customers leaving work early in observance of Passover and Good Friday. The railroad will operate a regular weekday schedule with eight additional trains departing Penn Station between 2:08 p.m. and 3:48 p.m. There will be three additional trains on the Babylon Branch, three on the Port Jefferson Branch, one on the Port Washington Branch, and one on the Far Rockaway Branch.

The extra afternoon departures from Penn Station are as follows:

Babylon Branch:

2:32 p.m. express to Lynbrook, then all stops to Babylon

3:00 p.m. stopping at Jamaica, Rockville Centre, then all stops to Babylon

3:31 p.m. express to Rockville Centre, then all stops to Babylon

Port Jefferson Branch:

2:08 p.m. stopping at Jamaica, Mineola, then all stops to Huntington

2:29 p.m. stopping at Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, New Hyde Park, then all stops to Huntington

3:24 p.m. stopping at Jamaica, Mineola, Westbury and Hicksville

Additionally, the 2:52 p.m. train from Huntington to Port Jefferson will originate from Jamaica at 1:46 p.m. on April 14 and 18 only.
The 2:29 p.m. train from Penn Station, due Hicksville at 3:17 p.m. will not operate on April 14 and 18.

Port Washington Branch (to Great Neck):

3:40 p.m. stopping at Woodside, Flushing Main St., then all stops to Great Neck

Far Rockaway Branch:

3:48 p.m. express to Locust Manor, then all stops to Far Rockaway

xoxo Transit Blogger

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LIRR Long Beach Restoration Project

Over the weekend, the MTA Long Island Rail Road announced a $120M restoration project to the Long Beach line to help fortify it from the type of damage it received from Hurricane Sandy. Here is more:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Long Island Rail Road today announced the start of a $120 million construction program designed to protect the LIRR’s Long Beach Branch from the kind of devastating damage caused by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. To better fortify the branch, construction is starting on a four-year project to build three new power stations, replace switch machines, signals and communications systems as well as third rail equipment and, lastly, harden the electrical system that powers the Wreck Lead Bridge, which spans Reynolds Channel and connects Island Park to the City of Long Beach.

Clearing Vegetation on LIRR Property:

By necessity, the project will include an extensive clearing of trees and bushes on LIRR property to make way for a new pole line that will anchor new signal, communications and electrical systems and allow their placement well above the flood plain. The vegetation cutting, which is scheduled to begin Monday, April 14, will be done by private contractors under the supervision of a New York State licensed arborist and LIRR personnel. The extent of the cutting in each area will follow a very precise plan based on requirements set out by project engineers with the goal of minimizing the impact on nearby communities.

MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said: “The LIRR is an economic lifeline for tens of thousands of residents on the South Shore of Nassau County who commute to and from work each day via the Long Beach Branch. It is no less important to the City of Long Beach, a destination for thousands more heading to the community’s beautiful public beachfront and its popular restaurants and nightlife. There is no better insurance for the economic vitality of this region than ensuring the safe and reliable future operation of the LIRR’s Long Beach Branch.”
The MTA has added nine Long Island Rail Road Sandy restoration projects to its 2010-2014 Capital Programs, a total commitment of $265 million and the plans for Long Beach represent a major part of that effort.

LIRR President Helena E. Williams said: “We want to make sure that customers along the Long Beach Branch are fully aware of our work plan in the weeks and months ahead as we dedicate ourselves to making sure that we are fully prepared and protected when the next big storm reaches our shore. In the meantime, we will do our best to keep residents informed as work proceeds along the LIRR right-of-way in their neighborhoods. And we promise our customers that we will work hard to minimize any inconvenience caused by the project and keep them fully informed about any service related impact.”

The Devastation of Superstorm Sandy:

When Sandy struck Long Island on October 29, 2012, the Long Beach branch was the most seriously affected of the Railroad’s 11 branches. Third rail power was lost with three of the four substations off-line and awash in sea water. The tracks between Island Park and Long Beach stations were covered with debris and all systems – switch, signal and communications – were knocked out by the salt water. Partial service was restored on November 14 with diesel trains operating between Lynbrook and Long Beach. Full electric service was restored 11 days later.

Even as emergency repairs were underway to bring train service back to Long Beach Branch after the storm, the LIRR was developing specific Sandy restoration projects, including the replacement of its Oceanside, Oil City and Long Beach electrical substations as well as switching, signal and communications systems along the entire five and one half miles route over which some 20,000 customers travel on an average weekday. In addition, the Railroad developed a plan to strengthen the resiliency of the Wreck Lead Bridge, which spans Reynolds Channel and connects LIRR service from Island Park to Long Beach.

The design work and construction will be carried out over the next four years and at times require brief service outages when bus service will be substituted for trains. Those interruptions will be scheduled during off peak hours and on weekends so as not to impact peak hour commuting and to minimize the inconvenience to LIRR customers.

The Long Beach Branch Restoration Plan:

The major restoration projects being carried out on the Long Beach branch are as follows

Long Beach Branch Substation Replacement (Cost $56.5 Million)

Three substations, Oceanside, Oil City and Long Beach, are being demolished and replaced by state of art pre-fabricated substations constructed on platforms that will take them out of harm’s way in what is now considered a flood-prone area. Work has just recently gotten underway on the Oceanside substation. The Oil City project is set to begin in January and Long Beach in September 2015.

Long Beach Branch Systems Restoration (Cost $56.4 Million)

This project calls for the replacement of switch machines, signals, communications and third rail equipment and is currently in design stage. Again critical components like the new signal and communication huts will be placed on platforms to make them more resilient in future extreme weather events.

Wreck Lead Bridge Systems Restoration (Cost $7 Million)

At the Wreck Lead Bridge, which connects Island Park and Long Beach, the LIRR will replace underwater cable, the bridge electrical system and the bridge’s emergency generator.

Vegetation Management Phase to Take Four Weeks

The LIRR says the vegetation management aspect of the project will take approximately four weeks to complete, weather permitting. The cutting will take place along the south side of the LIRR right of way starting around Horton Avenue in Lynbrook and move east. At Broadway near the Centre Avenue Station, the cutting will be done on both sides of the tracks through Centre Avenue near the East Rockaway Station. Cutting will then continue on the south side of the right of way through Oceanside and Island Park until the Wreck Lead Bridge. It is important that trees and bushes are cut back before the growing season gets started in earnest. Obstructions such as tree limbs and bushes are not only a safety hazard, but contribute to slip-slide conditions on rails when leaves fall and decompose leaving a residue on rails. Careful management of the cutting is designed to minimize the impact on neighboring communities.

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Schedule Change To 7 Line Work

Catching up on some transit news from Friday, MTA NYC Transit announced a change to the work schedule for CBTC work on the 7. Here is more:

MTA New York City Transit has worked in the past few weeks to rearrange the necessary work undertaken on the 7 Line in order to accommodate requests from community members regarding the impact that some weekend service shutdowns would have on community events along the 7 Flushing Line. Most notably, the planned 7 Line service shutdown scheduled for the weekend of May 17-18, 2014 has been cancelled and NYC Transit will run normal 7 Line service.

A summary of changes for 2014 is outlined below:

• (May 3-4) is no longer a 74 St-Broadway to Times Square shutdown. It will now be a shutdown between Queensboro Plaza and Times Sq-42 St.

• (May 17-18) is no longer a 74 St-Broadway to Times Square shutdown. Normal 7 service will operate this weekend between Flushing-Main St and Times Sq-42 St.

• (May 31-June 1) will now be a 74 St-Broadway to Times Sq-42 St shutdown.

• (Sept. 20-21) will now be a 74 St-Broadway to Times Sq-42 St shutdown instead of a Main St-bound reroute to the middle track between Queensboro Plaza to 74 St-Broadway.

• (Nov 15-16) will now be a limited service to Queensboro Plaza with no service between Queensboro Plaza and Times Sq-42 St weekend. Previously, this was a Times Sq-42 St to Queensboro Plaza shutdown combined with a Main St-bound reroute to the middle track between Queensboro Plaza and 74 St-Broadway.

The work we are doing on the 7 Line remains absolutely critical to this service’s reliability, safety and longevity. Therefore, the work that we had previously scheduled for the weekend of May 17-18, 2014 will have to be rescheduled. However, this change will not increase the number of Steinway Tube closures for 2014. Some Main St-bound reroutes to the middle track (between Queensboro Plaza and 74 St-Broadway) will be rescheduled to 2015.

The multi-year, $550 million capital improvement project to replace the antiquated 50- to 90-year-old signaling system on the 7 line with state-of-the-art CBTC technology will continue into 2017. Upon completion, CBTC technology will interface with subway cars and countdown clocks to increase operational flexibility and reliability, and allow NYC Transit to run more trains per hour. These improvements will reduce crowding, prevent signal problems associated with old equipment, and further accommodate the population growth in Queens.

NYC Transit will also continue its work bringing the 120-year old Steinway Tube back to a state of good repair. Work in 2014 will include $33 million in component replacement and upgrade, which will include demolishing and reconstructing collapsed duct which houses critical electrical and communication lines to house new cables that supply power for the new technology we’re installing. NYC Transit will be rehabilitating the tube’s pump room and discharge lines, which were damaged during Sandy.

NYC Transit is also addressing critical track conditions that require the removal and replacement of elevated track panels that have neared or exceeded their useful lifespan and pose risks not just to safety but also to the 7 Line’s operational capacity. If old track panels are not replaced, they become subject to mandatory speed reductions to prevent derailments, which result in fewer trains operating per hour and more crowding. In all, NYC Transit expects to renew and replace approximately 2,980 feet of old track representing a $15 million investment.

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NYC Transit Warns Of Credit Card Scam

Once again riders need to be wary of credit card scam artists who are targeting ticket vending machines. This issue started to make headlines again the other day when the LIRR warned about a suspect targeting riders at the Baldwin station.

Now NYC Transit has issued a warning after finding a skimming device & hidden camera at a MVM at the 59th Street-Columbus Circle station. Here is more:

MTA New York City Transit is asking customers to be vigilant when purchasing MetroCards at MetroCard Vending Machines (MVMs) after a skimming device and hidden camera were uncovered at an MVM inside the 59 St-Columbus Circle station (see photos below). The device was discovered last night around 9:30 p.m. attached to an MVM located on the north end of the southbound 1 platform at Columbus Circle.

An unidentified customer noticed the device, removed it from the machine and brought it to the Station Agent on duty. The New York Police Department is investigating the device.

New York City Transit urges customers who have purchased a MetroCard at that location using a credit or debit card to immediately check with their bank or credit card company to determine if their accounts show any signs of unauthorized activity.

“We have already dispatched personnel to check all MVMs system-wide today for other devices,” said MTA New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco. “As was the case yesterday, we continue to ask our customers ‘If You See Something, Say Something,’ particularly if they notice any suspicious activity or device in our system.”

This is exactly why anytime I swipe or insert my card at any machine (not just in transit stations), I feel for devices & cameras. People sometimes look at me like I am crazy. However I do not care as my security trumps their opinion. Plus it has worked for me as I have found such machines attached on a few occasions.

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Service Diversions 04-10-14

Get a head start on your weekend plans as I have just updated the Service Diversions through all of next week.

Make sure to follow @TransitBlogger on Twitter by clicking the button in the sidebar as I am using it more often. Also if you are into indie music make sure to follow @IndMusicReview & @SurgeFM!

Have a safe & wonderful weekend.

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