LIRR Officially Announces Port Washington Branch Shuttle

Continuing with the topic of the train weekend disruptions, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) issued a press release detailing the Port Washington Branch Shuttle schedule. The shuttle will serve subway customers affected by the suspension of service on the . Here is the press release courtesy of the MTA:

 REGULAR PORT WASHINGTON WEEKEND SERVICE UNAFFECTED

The MTA Long Island Rail Road will be providing shuttle service between Penn Station and Flushing-Main Street Station on the Port Washington Branch for up to five consecutive weekends starting January 12-13 for MTA New York City Transit subway customers affected by the suspension of service on the 7 line between Main Street-Flushing Station and Woodside-61st Street Station. Regular Port Washington Branch weekend service will be in effect.

LIRR shuttles will operate approximately every fifteen minutes in both directions beginning at 5 AM on Saturday through 1 AM on Sunday, and again at 5 AM on Sunday through 1 AM on Monday on the affected weekends. Shuttle stops will include Penn Station, Woodside and Flushing-Main Street Stations. LIRR and NYC Transit personnel will be on hand at all affected stations to assist transferring customers. There is no additional charge for the shuttle service.

“The Long Island Rail Road is poised and ready to provide alternative shuttle train service to accommodate 7 Line riders during the upcoming weekends as NYC Transit performs work to modernize its signal system,” said LIRR President Helena Williams. “While this alternate service is being provided, we ask our customers to be patient as our trains will be more crowded than normal.”

Affected customers can consult the LIRR or NYC Transit websites at www.mta.info. Customers can also contact the 24-hour Travel Information Center in New York City at 718-217-LIRR, in Nassau County at 516-822-LIRR or in Suffolk County at 631-231-LIRR. The Travel Information Center’s TDD number for the hearing impaired is 718-558-3022.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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7 Train Disruptions To Last Up To 5 Weekends

As you have most likely heard by now, weekend service on the 7 line will be in complete shambles due to a major capital project involving the installation of new signaling and track switches. I am posting the press release to continue with the flow of updating the blog with the most recent news. Here is the press release courtesy of the MTA:

Long Island Rail Road to Provide Alternate Service at No Cost

Due to a major capital project involving the installation of new signaling and track switches along the Flushing Line, 7 train service will be suspended between Flushing-Main Street and Woodside-61st Street Station for up to five weekends beginning January 12-14 (12:01 a.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Monday) and, beginning on Friday morning, January 11th until February 29th, weekday express service will be suspended (all 7 trains will run local).

A free-fare alternate service will be provided by MTA Long Island Rail Road trains (Flushing-Main St., Port Washington branch) and NYC Transit shuttle buses during this disruption. Passengers traveling between Flushing-Main Street and Manhattan are urged to use the Long Island Rail Road, which will run approximately every 15 minutes between approximately 6:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. For passengers traveling to Manhattan from stations between Flushing-Main Street and 61st Street – Woodside, Shuttle Bus service making all stops to 74th Street – Broadway will be available. Once there, customers can transfer to E F R trains into Manhattan. At 74th Street -Broadway, there will be additional E and F trains available between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday during these weekends.

The work being done is the second phase of a $76 million capital program to improve and upgrade the subway infrastructure along the Flushing Line. The line’s signal system is being modernized between Queensboro Plaza and 82nd Street-Jackson Heights as part of this project that also includes the reconfiguration of track switches in the vicinity of 74th Street-Broadway. The modernization of signals will allow faster and more efficient service while maintaining safe standards of operation.

When completed, the new signal system and switches will allow trains to cross between tracks and serve 74th Street-Broadway in the event that track work is being performed in the vicinity. Currently, trains cannot make this track change.

“We understand that 7 Line riders will face major disruptions of service while this vital work is being performed,” said NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. “However, this work is necessary in order to bring state-of-the-art improvements to the operation of the 7 Line and will increase the availability of a major transfer point.”

“The Long Island Rail Road is poised and ready to provide alternative LIRR shuttle train service to accommodate 7 Line riders during the upcoming weekends as NYC Transit performs work to modernize its signal system,” said LIRR President Helena Williams. “While this alternate service is being provided, we ask our customers to be patient as our trains will be more crowded than normal.”

Long Island Rail Road staff will also be on hand to assist riders transferring between the subway and LIRR. NYC Transit personnel will be on hand at the Flushing-Main Street, 74th Street-Broadway and Woodside-61st Street 7 stations to help guide customers and to explain travel options:

– Customers who board at Main Street-Flushing and normally transfer at 74th Street to reach Manhattan should use the LIRR and transfer to the E at Penn Station.

– Customers who board at 61st Street-Woodside and are heading to Flushing-Main Street should use the LIRR, not the Shuttle bus, except during night hours.

– Customers boarding the LIRR at Penn Station should:
Go to the lower level, find an LIRR monitor (displaying Port Washington or Flushing-Main Street) and go to the track for the next Pt. Wash. or F.M.S. train

– Local Shuttle Bus service runs at all times between Main Street – Flushing and Woodside-61st Street

– Flushing-bound Express Shuttle Bus service runs non-stop from 74th Street-Broadway to Main Street-Flushing between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday

– Overnight Express Shuttle Bus service runs non-stop between Main Street – Flushing and 61st Street – Woodside from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday and Sunday

SubTalk posters detailing the service changes will be posted at affected stations and onboard 7 trains. Brochures are available in English, Chinese, Korean and Spanish.

For more information on this and other weekend construction work, riders can log on to www.mta.info and click on Service Advisories for information on the 7 line and for the entire Weekend Summary. While on line, customers may also listen to a TransitTrax podcast on the project at http://www.mta.info/nyct/transittrax.htm.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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LIRR Commuters Campaign President Calls Out The LIRR

I applaud LIRR Commuters Campaign President Peter Haynes who I feel accurately called out The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in a letter he recently sent to Newsday:

LIRR’s inflated sense of service

When a self-grading organization like the LIRR continually gives itself an “A” at the same time most commuters give it less than a “C,” something is wrong – very wrong.

All commuters know that the LIRR keeps its own, unaudited, unverified on-time performance numbers, and these numbers do not in any way reflect the actual service provided to customers.

Virtually all commuters have vastly different “on time” experiences most days of the week – like Jan. 7, for example, with multihour delays on nearly every branch.

Diesel service is an admitted disaster, the M7s have many problems, there are major delays every week – yet the LIRR chooses to brag about a fake number? What the LIRR is really saying is, “Abandon hope all ye who purchase LIRR monthly tickets.”

Peter Haynes

I feel Mr. Haynes is accurate in calling out the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) for statistics that do not mesh with the reality riders face daily. As I noted here, the record comes as a surprise to me considering all the complaints I hear or read about almost daily involving the LIRR. I would love to see the actual numbers if the results were accurately kept in the manner I mentioned in the aforementioned entry.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA & Commuter Advocates Have A Transit Wish List

9 days ago Marlene Naanes of AMNY wrote an article about the MTA & other transit advocates having a wish list as the deadline approaches for the submission of the 5 year capital plan to the state. Here is the article courtesy of AMNY:

As New York barrels into 2008, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and transit advocates are pressing for rail improvements they hope will make commuters’ lives easier for years to come.

Their post-holiday wish lists include:

Adding a 10-mile-long third track to the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line between Queens Village and Hicksville to hasten the ride.

Replacing the old subway signal system with computer-based communication technology, which has been installed on the L line. This will improve speed, say advocates.

Running trains into the future Moynihan Station, Penn Station’s replacement, to allow Metro-North riders to commute to the West Side without changing trains.

Extending the No. 7 train line west to a station at 10th Avenue and 41st Street.

Speeding up train station face-lifts.

Replacing aging buses.

Continuing funding of mega projects such as the Second Avenue subway line and the Fulton Street Transit Center.

“We’d love to have enough to do another phase of the Second Avenue subway,” said MTA board member Andrew Albert. “We’d love for Fulton Street Transit Center to be more than a shrunken head.”

With their eyes on a March 31 deadline to submit a five-year capital plan to the state, the MTA and the advocates are pressing local, state and federal officials for the money to fund these projects.

“We wanted to begin speaking early in the process about the order of magnitude of the investment in transportation that will be needed in the five years if New York’s economy is to remain competitive with those of other world cities like London, Shanghai and a host of others” said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan.

MTA officials are looking to surpass the current plan, which totals about $21 billion, by about $5 to $10 billion to keep the system in the best possible shape to accommodate the area’s booming population. State officials said it is too soon to say how much funding it might approve sometime this year.

While you are at it, I suggest checking out the comments left for the article which can be found by clicking here. After reading the first comment from Castile, NY resident James, I felt the need to respond. I can’t stand the typical idiotic ranting from upstate residents who continue to look down on New York City (NYC) considering we are the hand that feeds it.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Speaking Of Records, The LIRR Sets One As Well

 
LIRR train entering Woodside;  Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

In my previous entry, I discussed the ridership record set by the Metro-North in 2007. Not to be left out in the cold, the MTA announced that the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) set one as well. Unlike their commuter counterpart, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) set its record in the on time performance category. Here is a brief article about the record courtesy of Newsday:

Despite nearly daily reports of delayed and cancelled trains, Long Island Rail Road officials said Monday that 2007 was a modern-day record-setting year for on-time performance on the commuter railroad.

Officials said 94.07 percent of all LIRR trains arrived on-time in 2007. The previous best on-time performance was 94.04 percent in 2002.

The mark was an increase of about 3/4 of one percent over the performance in 2006.

Records have been kept since 1979.

New railroad president Helena Williams, in a prepared release, called the results a “hard-won accomplishment.”

In that statement, Williams said: “We know that our customers want service reliability. They expect to arrive at their destination safely and on time.”

It should be noted that LIRR officials consider a train to be “on-time” if it is no more than five minutes and 59 seconds late.

The announcement came on the same morning when so-called “equipment problems” caused a more than 90-minute delay for passengers on the 6:48 a.m. train from Huntington to Hunterspoint Avenue when it broke down near Queens Village. That caused the cancellation of another train — and more than 60-minute delays to at least four trains on the railroad’s Main Line west of Jamaica.

Officials could not detail what the “equipment problems” were that caused the massive delays on Monday.

Now here is the press release issued by the MTA in regards to the record set by the Long Island Railroad (LIRR):

The MTA Long Island Rail Road capped off 2007 with an On-Time Performance (OTP) of 94.07% – an almost 1 percentage point improvement over 2006. The prior year’s OTP was 93.30%.

At 94.07%, 2007’s OTP is the best since modern record keeping started in 1979.

The previous best OTP of 94.04% was achieved in 2002. The LIRR reached the 94.07% milestone in 2007 while operating almost 5% more trains (244,565) annually than in 2002 (233,301).

“This hard-won accomplishment is the result of a focused, team effort by all LIRR employees,” said LIRR President Helena Williams. “We know that our customers want service reliability. They expect to arrive at their destination safely and on time. I want to commend LIRR employees for delivering on that goal.

“We’re moving in the right direction, and we are committed to achieving even better performance in the future,” Williams added, “which is why we are moving ahead with plans for a Third Track. The LIRR needs a ‘Third Track’ to maintain on-time performance gains in the future and to be ready for the coming of East Side Access, when the LIRR will connect to Grand Central Terminal and our customers will be able to reach the East Side of Manhattan in a one-seat ride.”

The LIRR achieved two other significant milestones in 2007. Annual AM Peak on time performance reached 94.28% (previous record, 93.79%) and annual Off Peak on time performance reached 94.64% (previous, 94.41%). The Railroad implemented its current methodology of determining on-time performance in 1979. That year, the LIRR posted an OTP of 83.42%, and commenced an upwards climb through the decades – reaching 91.62% by 1987, rising to 93.68% in 1992, and hitting 94.04% in 2002, the previous record.

I have to admit this record comes as a surprise to me. I say this because the Newsday was right on the money when it mentioned that you got used to seeing daily reports about trains being delayed or cancelled. While I don’t ride the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) as much as I used to, I know many who do. I would usually hear from them almost daily about some sort of delay or cancellation. They would either be screwed by the delay or cancellation or asked if I had heard about it so I could blog about it for my readers. Either way when the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) was discussed, it was not usually in the best light.

I assume the agency used a funny way of determining on time arrivals & departures which includes a buffer a few minutes behind what is posted for customers. Quite frankly I don’t see how one can sit there & say something is on time when the data provided to customers shows otherwise. If they or any agency wants to really be 100% factual about their on time record, they should base their results exclusively to the time posted on their public schedules. Anything outside of that is & will never be 100% factual.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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