MTA Adds Service To Area Beaches

The temperatures outside are a preview of what to expect this upcoming summer season which is just around the corner. In preparation of it, the MTA has announced it is adding service to area beaches. Here are more details:

Summer weekend ridership on the S Train Rockaway Park shuttle, which normally operates between Rockaway Park-Beach 116 St and Broad Channel, has grown dramatically over the last few years and is now well in excess of pre-Super Storm Sandy levels.

In response to this growing ridership, and to better accommodate travelers heading to and from Rockaway Beach on weekends this summer, MTA New York City Transit will be extending the S Train from Broad Channel to the Rockaway Blvd station on the A Train line from approximately 9am to 9pm.

The extension of the S Train to Rockaway Blvd will allow southbound (beach-bound) customers to transfer to the S Trainfrom both the Lefferts Blvd A Train train and the Far Rockaway A Train train, effectively doubling southbound access to the S Train. Likewise, the S Train extension will allow northbound Shuttle riders to transfer to S Train trains originating at either Lefferts Blvd or Far Rockaway.

The extended S Train service will begin on Sunday, June 12 and will operate until at least Labor Day. If New York City public beaches are open on September weekends after Labor Day, as was the case in 2015 and as has been proposed going forward, the extended shuttle service will also operate on those weekends.

In addition, service on the Q35 bus route, which operates between the Brooklyn College-Flatbush Av 2 Train & 5 Trainstation and Rockaway Park, via Flatbush Avenue and Jacob Riis Park, will be increased starting July 3. More than 35 trips on both Saturday and Sunday will be added and frequencies will go from every 10-11 minutes to 7 1/2 minutes.

In the Bronx starting this Saturday, Bx12 local service, which normally operates between Sedgwick Avenue and Pelham Bay will be extended to Orchard Beach from approximately 7am to 8pm. On weekends additional Bx12 service to Orchard Beach has been added because the Bx5 now serves Bay Plaza.

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Cuomo Fast Tracks LIRR Hicksville Project

Gov. Cuomo has announced that he is fast tracking the $121 million modernization project for the LIRR’s Hicksville station. Here are more details via the official press release:

Governor Andrew Cuomo has put the planned $121 million modernization of the Long Island Rail Road’s aging Hicksville station on the fast track, announcing the LIRR and the prime contractor have agreed to complete the job in 22 months, 13 months sooner than planned.

“Hicksville station is the LIRR’s third busiest station – topped only by Penn and Jamaica – and it’s a key transfer point for customers on the Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma branches,” Governor Cuomo said. “To have such an important transportation hub encumbered by construction for three years was out of the question. In order to speed up the process both the LIRR and the contractor have worked out a unique construction methodology shortening the total construction time from 35 to 22 months.”

The Governor’s announcement came as the MTA Board today unanimously approved the award of $56.7 million construction contract for Hicksville to Railroad Construction Company/Citnalta, a joint venture. LIRR officials said work could get underway as early as July.

Governor Cuomo noted that the Hicksville upgrade is one of number LIRR projects subject to an innovative 2013 Project Labor Agreement between the LIRR and the Buildings and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk that has helped reduce construction costs by 10%. The entire project is funded by the MTA Capital Program, of which the state is the chief supporter.

The Hicksville modernization is really two projects in one, the complete rehabilitation of the 55 year-old station at a cost of $68.8 million and construction of the Hicksville North Track Siding at the west end the station at a cost of $52.4 million. The North Track Siding will be built by the LIRR’s workforce. Railroad Construction Company/Citnalta will handle the station renovation and prepare the North Track Siding site.

The station upgrades include new platforms with glass-enclosed, heated waiting rooms, lighting, translucent canopy roof, stairways, escalators, plaza elevators, a video security system, audio and digital communications systems and signage. MTA Arts & Design plans artist designed ceramic mosaic murals and laminated art glass. If construction begins this summer, the station work should be done by spring 2018.

The North Siding will connect Track 1 at Hicksville to an existing track siding situated about one-half mile west of the station platform. The siding will improve the Railroad’s ability to reroute trains in the event of maintenance, construction or service disruptions.

Railroad Construction Company is a major East Coast general contractor with experience in all areas of civil construction, rail construction and building construction and is currently working for the LIRR on the new Colonial Road Improvement Project near Great Neck station. Citnalta is a Bohemia, L.I based construction firm that has over the past decade completed more a dozen projects for the MTA, including rehabilitation of 15 subway stations.

The design for the Hicksville Station revitalization was done by AECOM, a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environment, energy, water and government.

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MTA Awards 2 Prelim Engineering Contracts

Late yesterday, the MTA announced it has awarded 2 preliminary engineering contracts worth a total of $7.5M for the LIRR & NYC Subway stations in Willets Point. Here are more details courtesy of the official press release:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that it has awarded $7.5 million in contracts for preliminary engineering work at two stations at Willets Point, Queens. The preliminary engineering work, which is expected to be completed within a year, will pave the way for major enhancements at both stations, and prepare the MTA to collaborate with the Port Authority as planning for the AirTrain at LaGuardia moves forward.

The first contract is valued at $4.6 million and is for work at the Long Island Rail Road’s Mets-Willets Point Station. It has been awarded to STV, Inc. The second contract is valued at $2.9 million and deals with the Willets Point Station for New York City Transit’s No. 7 train station. It has been awarded to HDR Architecture and Engineering, PC.

“The preliminary engineering work we’re doing at the two Willets Point stations is the first step in a plan to dramatically enhance both stations,” commented MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “It will also enable us to be ready to work with the Port Authority as planning for the LaGuardia AirTrain moves forward, which we see as critically important.”

The scope of the preliminary work will include plans for lengthening the LIRR station’s platform to accommodate 12-car-long trains for greater service capacity, as well as Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility.

For the modernized subway station, which is served by the 7 line, the preliminary engineering work will pave the way for newly designed mezzanines with state of the art electronics and communications, full ADA-compliant accessibility, and improved passenger flow for both events and normal service.

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LIRR Cannonball Service Returns For 2016

The infamous LIRR Cannonball express service to The Hamptons will be debuting for the 2016 year this Friday. Here is more via the official press release:

The Long Island Rail Road’s popular Cannonball express, offering premium Hamptons Reserve service and the fastest ride from Manhattan to Montauk, debuts Memorial Day Weekend with the Cannonball East departing Penn Station on Friday, May 27 at 4:06 p.m.

Ticket sales for the Cannonball East’s three Hampton Reserve cars on the May 27 departure is already sold out. When the double-decker train pulls out of Penn Station, more than 1,000 additional customers will have filled the nine non-reserved cars on a first-come, first-served basis. And don’t fret if you miss the Cannonball because trains bound for Montauk continue to depart from Penn Station, Hunterspoint Ave. and Jamaica through the rest of the day.
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“Nothing is faster than the Cannonball on Friday afternoons,” said LIRR President Patrick A. Nowakowski. “We are beefing up our Montauk service to meet the summer demand and working to make sure that everyone rides comfortably by strict enforcement of our boarding rules. The LIRR is the best way to beat the traffic and avoid the parking hassles and make the most of your weekend getaway in the Hamptons and Montauk this summer.”

Hamptons Reserve Service:

Hampton Reserve seating is available by advance reservation, offering the comfort of a reserved seat as well as at-your-seat bar and snack service. To purchase Reserve seating, all the information you need is on the MTA LIRR website http://web.mta.info/lirr/hamptons/HR-ReservationForm-2016.pdf. Customers unable to get a reservation due to the date(s) being sold out will be placed on a waiting list and filled starting at noon on the Thursday before the Cannonball’s departure.

Cannonball East:

The Cannonball East departs Penn Station on Fridays at 4:06 p.m. from Penn Station – May 27th through September 2nd and travels non-stop to Westhampton in 95 minutes, also stopping at Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton and Montauk. For the July 4th holiday weekend, the Cannonball East departs on Friday July 1. Hamptons Reserve seating is $49.25 one-way. The remaining cars are filled on a first come, first-served basis priced at the regular one-way peak fare of $28.25.

Cannonball West:

Departs Montauk on Sundays (Mondays on May 30, July 4, & September 5) at 6:37 p.m., stopping at East Hampton at 7:01 p.m., Bridgehampton 7:10 p.m., Southampton 7:20 p.m., Hampton Bays 7:31 p.m., Westhampton 7:39 p.m. and then Jamaica at 9:10 p.m. and Penn Station at 9:31 p.m. Hamptons Reserve seating is $41.25, and again, the Cannonball’s remaining seats are priced at regular Weekend Off-Peak fare of $20.25

Buy Your Tickets in Advance:

Customers are advised to buy tickets in advance since on-board fares are higher.

Rules for Boarding and Riding the Cannonball Safely:

Safety is always the top priority on the Long Island Rail Road. Cannonball seats are in great demand, but to prevent overcrowding and ensure a comfortable ride, the LIRR will announce and enforce the following rules with the assistance of the MTA Police.

• Car doors will be closed when it is determined a car has reached ridership capacity.

• Car isles and doorways will be kept clear of obstructions at all times.

• Seats must be free of luggage.

• All carry-ons must be stored under seats or on overhead racks.

Additional Montauk Branch Summer Service Enhancements:

Eastbound:

• 12:43 p.m. from Jamaica to Speonk every weekday.

• 4:06 p.m. from Penn Station to Montauk on Thursdays.

• 1:47 p.m. on Fridays from Hunterspoint Ave. to Montauk; 5:09 p.m. on Fridays from Penn Station to Montauk and the 7:38 p.m. on Fridays from Jamaica to Montauk.

Westbound:

• 4 p.m. summer Sunday and holiday departure from Montauk will operate through to Hunterspoint Ave. and Long Island City.

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Metro North Sat Schedule Remains In Place

Due to the fire yesterday underneath the Park Avenue viaduct, MTA Metro-North will continue to run on a Saturday schedule until further notice. Here is more via the official release:

Limited train service continues into and out of Grand Central Terminal following a massive four alarm fire Tuesday night at a local business at 118th Street under Metro-North Railroad’s Park Avenue Viaduct.

Harlem-125th Street Station Customers: Between 5 pm and 8 pm tonight, all inbound trains will not make stops and some outbound express trains will not make stops at Harlem-125th Street Station in order to relieve congestion in the affected area. Please listen for announcements.

Customers are encouraged to take a subway connection as an alternate service in and out of New York City as follows:

• Hudson Line customers can take train service to/from Yankees-East 153rd Street with subway connections to the Lexington Ave. 4 train, D train or the 1 train at 225 St-Marble Hill Station.

• Harlem Line customers can take train service to/from Wakefield Station with subway connections to the 2 train at 241st Street.

• New Haven Line customers can take train service to/from Woodlawn Station with subway connections to 2 train and 5 train at 233rd Street.

NYC Transit is cross-honoring Metro-North tickets at Grand Central, Harlem-125th Street and the Bronx stations.

Hudson Line customers: NJ TRANSIT is cross-honoring Hudson Line tickets on Port Jervis and Pascack Valley Line trains.

Until further notice, a Saturday schedule will remain in effect on all three lines. Customers should refer to the schedules page at http://as0.mta.info/mnr/schedules/sched_form.cfm or a timetable for schedule information.

Between 5 pm and 8 pm, customers should expect delays and extremely crowded conditions. As such, customers are encouraged to stagger their departures out of Grand Central Terminal.

Metro-North crews are working around the clock to make temporary repairs to a section of the viaduct which requires the two inside tracks to remain out of service. Trains are safely operating on the two outside tracks of the viaduct with train speeds reduced from 60 mph to a maximum allowable speed of 30 mph.

As soon as the temporary repairs are completed, Metro-North will perform structural tests and tests of train movement over the viaduct. If testing proves successful, restricted speed train service could then resume over the tracks that are currently out of service. The construction and testing process is expected to take 24 to 48 hours to complete.

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