SI Railway Labor Day 2016 Service Plan

The 2016 Labor Day holiday is right around the corner. Here is the Staten Island Railway service plan for it:

Staten Island Railway (SIR) customers looking to get a head start on their three-day weekend will be able to catch earlier afternoon express train service on Friday, September 2, with Staten Island Railway’s Early Departure Getaway schedule. This schedule means extra SIR trains will be added earlier in the afternoon beginning at 2:30 p.m. from the St. George Ferry Terminal. There will be one express train and one local train awaiting every boat until 7:50 p.m. SIR will operate on a Sunday Schedule on Labor Day, Monday September 5.

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MTA Completes Croton-Harmon Upgrades

Early yesterday afternoon, Gov. Cuomo announced that the MTA Metro-North Railroad has completed $3.6M in station upgrades to the Croton-Harmon station. Here is more via the official press release I received:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that MTA Metro-North Railroad has completed renovation of the Croton-Harmon station’s customer waiting area. The $3.6 million project involves both station structural renovations and aesthetic improvements. The work was done in phases to allow for continual use by Metro-North customers with minimal disruption during the work.

“The Croton-Harmon station is an important hub along the Metro North Rail Road and these upgrades will improve the commuting experience for the thousands of riders who depend on it every day,” Governor Cuomo said. “This project is building on our efforts to rebuild and modernize the MTA and I am proud to see it completed.”

New wall panels, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, finishes, fixtures and air conditioning have been installed throughout the space, including the waiting area, bathrooms and coffee and newsstand concessions. Modifications to stair portals identify the tracks with sleek, illuminated overhead signage; this upgrade makes tracks more visible and reduces commuter congestion. A more energy efficient LED lighting system gives the station an open, bright and modern appearance. Photos of the station upgrades are available here and here.

The station layout is more efficient and streamlined. Ticket vending machines have been relocated to the nearby the ticket window, creating a self-contained ticket purchasing area. The ticket window has been completely rebuilt with improved lighting, new mill work and finishes and an ADA accessible counter.

The station’s entrance marquee has new ceiling slats, lights, a freshly painted enamel exterior and accented fascia panels in the front of the station building at the street level. MTA Arts & Design commissioned artist Corinne Ulmann to create site specific artwork at the station. Entitled Croton Harmon Station, Ulmann expanded upon the art installation she created for the Station’s South Overpass in 2013. The new artwork is composed of printed vinyl for the windows portraying views of local landscapes as they progress through four seasons, and a floor-to-ceiling glass mosaic, fabricated by Miotto Mosaic Art Studios of Carmel, New York, depicting the iconic Croton Dam, a distinctive landmark for the station and the city. Ullman’s work pays tribute to the Hudson River School painters and the inspiration they found in the romantic landscape of the Hudson Valley.

The station renovation was completed with funding from the MTA Capital Program, with a contribution of $300,000 of MTA capital reserve funds from Assemblywoman Sandy Galef.

Senator Terrence Murphy said, “Riders of the Hudson Line are getting the long anticipated improvements they deserve. The improved aesthetics and streamlined ticket purchasing will further enhance the riding experience for our local commuters and out of town tourists.”

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef said, “Many of my constituents use the Metro-North trains on a regular basis, for both employment and enjoyment. It is wonderful to see improvements in our infrastructure that makes public transportation more attractive and more pleasant for commuters and travelers alike.”

Village of Croton-on-Hudson Mayor Dr. Greg Schmidt said, “The Croton-Harmon station is vital to the countless residents in our community who rely on its convenience and service to NYC and all points in between. I applaud the Governor for pushing for this station renovation and for his continued commitment to improving infrastructure across the state.”

Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda D. Puglisi said, “Thousands of New Yorkers rely on Metro-North and the Croton Harmon station on a daily basis, and these upgrades and improvements will make a real and positive difference in their quality of life.”

The work to rehabilitate the station waiting area was performed by Kapris, Inc., a small, minority-owned firm that received the contract after participating in the MTA’s Small Business Development Program. This award-winning, innovative and model program offers emerging firms – especially those owned by women, minorities and military veterans – the unique opportunity to get access to capital, bonding, technical assistance, mentoring and the in-the-field training necessary to help their businesses learn, earn and grow.

Hopefully the upgrades are appreciated & well taken care of & respected by the commuters as well as being maintained to the best possible standards by employees.

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MTA Completes Some LIRR Track Laying

One of the big LIRR projects that will help a multitude of riders is the addition of an extra track on the Ronkonkoma line between Farmingdale & Ronkonkoma. When the project is completed fully, the agency will be able to provide every half hour service on the line compared to the hourly service provided now.

The agency has been using a New Track Construction (NTC) machine that has helped them complete the track laying between Central Islip & Ronkonkoma as part of phase 1. Here is more via Kyra Senese of Railway & Track Structures:

The MTA cites its use of a New Track Construction (NTC) Machine as a key factor in the timeliness of the project.

The machine lays track more than 10 times faster than the MTA has ever previously been able to do manually, which officials say will save $2.4 million in construction costs. At the faster speed, MTA officials say the machine is capable of laying one mile of track per day.

MTA officials say work has begun on the final phase of the project between Farmingdale and Central Islip and is expected to wrap up in 2018.

Extending from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma, the double track is expected to significantly shorten delays along the LIRR. With $387.2 million in state funding, the project is set to be complete in the second phase through design-build contracting.

The track is also set to allow for more off-peak service in both directions by adding 13 miles of parallel track. The project is expected to boost frequency of rides available to one train every 30 minutes in both directions, a possible improvement from the previous standard of one train every hour. Lowered delays due to service disruptions are also predicted with the added track.

Gov. Cuomo toured the double track site with MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast, as the NTC machine was laying the final portion of the 3.5-mile Phase 1 track.

Click here for the complete story.

This will be a huge addition to the Ronkonkoma line which has long been under serviced even though it features the highest ridership in the system. Too bad it can’t get the same amount of the service the Babylon/Montauk lines do which feature over 80 trains to NYC a day during the weekdays.

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MTA eTix Debuts System Wide On LIRR

Two words can describe this next story, “ABOUT TIME” as the MTA has debuted its eTix mobile platform system wide on the LIRR. The platform enables customers on all LIRR lines to buy tickets on their phone & validate them for use before boarding the train. This will be a huge benefit when rushing for a train or if lines are too long to purchase a ticket before your train departs.

I can see myself using this app often as I tend to arrive at the very last second to catch my train. So anytime I can use it would be a win in my book. Hopefully people will not find a way to fraudulently use it as I am sure some are already working on ways how.

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Buses Replace Trains On Ronkonkoma Line

LIRR Ronkonkoma Line riders make note that buses will replace trains between Farmingdale & Ronkonkoma this weekend. Here are the complete details via the press release I received:

Buses will replace trains on the Long Island Rail Road’s Ronkonkoma Branch between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma for 48-hours over the weekend of August 20-21 for track work and the renewal of the railroad crossing at Carl’s Straight Path in Deer Park.

Customers can avoid the busing and long travel time by using the Babylon Branch or the Huntington/Port Jefferson Branch instead. Trains run every half-hour on the Babylon Branch and on the Port Jefferson Branch west of Huntington.

The tracks will be taken out of service at 12:45 a.m. on Saturday and returned to service by 12:45 a.m. on Monday. To determine how the track outage will affect their trip, customers should pick up a copy of the Special Timetable for the Ronkonkoma Branch covering both weekends or view the timetables at www.mta.info/lirr.

Ronkonkoma Branch

Eastbound:

Customers will travel by train as far as Hicksville where they will board buses up to 44 minutes earlier than normal for travel to stations Pinelawn through Ronkonkoma. Train service to Bethpage and Farmingdale is unaffected.

Westbound:

Customers at stations Ronkonkoma through Pinelawn will board buses up to 44 minutes earlier than normal to Hicksville where trains service resumes. Train service to Bethpage and Farmingdale is unaffected.

East of Ronkonkoma to Greenport

Eastbound:

Customers will board the 8:12 a.m. and the 1:12 p.m. from Penn Station one hour earlier than normal for Hicksville and change there for bus service to Ronkonkoma where normal train service will resume. Customers boarding at stations Bethpage through Central Islip will board a local bus for Ronkonkoma where normal train service will resume.

Westbound:

Customers will detrain at Ronkonkoma and board buses 21 minutes later for Hicksville where train service will resume. Customers traveling to stations Central Islip through Bethpage will board a local bus at Ronkonkoma to reach their final destinations.

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