Service Diversions 10-30-15

Get a start on your Halloween weekend travel 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!

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Former MTA Chairman E. Virgil Conway Dies

Some sad news to report as former MTA Chairman E. Virgil Conway has died at the age of 85. Here is more via press release:

E. Virgil Conway, who served as both Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) chairman and as a member of the MTA Board, died Wednesday in Southampton, New York. He was 85.

After finding success as both an attorney and a banker, Virgil began his tenure with the MTA Board as our Westchester representative. In 1995, he was asked by then-Governor George E. Pataki to take on the responsibility of chairman. He continued in that role until March 2001, serving as the seventh chairman of the MTA.

“Virgil was a hugely influential and effective chairman, and many of the successes and accomplishments the MTA celebrates today are the result of his hard work and his heartfelt service to the region,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “He remains a beloved member of the MTA family, and he will be sorely missed.”

Virgil spearheaded the preparation and funding for the 2000-2004 Capital Program, which at the time was the most ambitious and far-reaching program in MTA history. That effort launched several extraordinary projects to expand the system and change the shape of the region’s public transit to fuel our economy and better serve our customers.

These megaprojects include the Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access—bringing the Long Island Rail Road directly into Grand Central Terminal—and our recently-completed 7 Train extension to Manhattan’s Far West Side. Virgil’s efforts helped ensure these projects will transform our region, while at the same time improving service reliability by giving customers new ways to get where they’re going—to, from, and within New York City.

Virgil also oversaw the rollout of the MTA’s iconic MetroCard. He implemented fare discounts and eliminated “two-fare zones”—dramatically reducing the average cost of a ride. He brought to fruition the restoration of Grand Central Terminal, which began under his predecessor, Peter E. Stangl. And he was instrumental in bringing essential components of our system to a state of good repair, continuing the MTA’s decades-long work to rebuild from the graffiti, grime, and overall disrepair of the 1970s and ‘80s.

My condolences go out to the family & friends of Mr. Conway.

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Service Diversions 10-23-15

Get a start on your weekend travel 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!

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SI Railway Sandy Repairs

Staten Island was one of the worst hit spots from Superstorm Sandy. The wrath left behind is still being felt throughout the community & transit infrastructure. One of the worst hit spots on the island was around the St. George interlockiing which is currently undergoing a $105M project fix.

Due to this work, service will be suspended on multiple weekends between St. George & Tompkinsville. Here is more via press release:

A major MTA New York City Transit Fix&Fortify Sandy Recovery project underway on the Staten Island Railway (SIR) since September 26 will require five planned weekend closures between October 24 and the weekend of November 27.

During these weekend closures, train service will be suspended between St. George Ferry Terminal and Tompkinsville from 1:00 a.m. Saturdays through 4:00 a.m. Mondays. Shuttle buses will provide alternate transportation between these two stations. Staten Railway trains will run normally between Tompkinsville and Tottenville. The following closures are not consecutive and subject to change:

1. October 24-26

2. November 7-9

3. November 14-16

4. November 21-23

5. November 27-30

Three years ago, Superstorm Sandy drove a six-foot storm surge onto the shores of Staten Island. Portions of the Railway suffered extensive damage when tracks and equipment were totally submerged. In September 2014, a contract was awarded to LK Comstock for the rehabilitation of the St. George Terminal interlocking which serves the main passenger connection to the Staten Island Ferry. This $105 million project will modernize and replace the St. George Interlocking track and signal systems as well as rehabilitate the tower that controls train movement in and out of the terminal. The electrical distribution equipment housed in the tower was also damaged during Superstorm Sandy.

Resiliency measures that will be integrated into the project include the raising of all signals from 24 to 72 inches above the roadbed and using a raised platform for battery and generator enclosures. The project also includes the placement of new track ballast, the replacement of 12,000 feet of tracks and 13 turnouts, and a new third rail system.

While the MTA worked tirelessly to restore service as quickly as possible after the storm, it was immediately clear that future, more extensive work would be necessary to repair and rebuild these vital systems in order to ensure safe and reliable service. The project is designed to restore and rebuild damaged infrastructure while reducing the system’s vulnerability in the event of future severe weather. Overall, the MTA has been allocated nearly $3.8 billion in funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for Sandy related repair, resiliency, and disaster relief work system wide.

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No LIRR Between Mineola & Hicksville

Approximately 40,000 LIRR customers will be impacted this weekend when buses replace the LIRR between Mineola & Hicksville due to a new bridge being installed in Westbury. Here are the details via MTA press release:

An estimated 40,000 Long Island Rail Road customers could face considerable delays over the weekend of Saturday, October 24 and Sunday, October 25 when the Railroad suspends train service on the Main Line between Hicksville and Mineola for the installation of a new bridge in Westbury.

The outage will impact the Port Jefferson Branch and the Ronkonkoma Branch most severely with customers facing 40-60 minutes of extra travel time because bus service will be replacing train service between Hicksville and Mineola. It will have significantly less impact on other branches, which make them a good alternative for Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma branch customers. See our Ellison Avenue Project video at

“We strongly urge our customers to avoid the Ronkonkoma and Port Jefferson branches during the weekend of October 24-25,” said LIRR President Patrick A. Nowakowski. “Please use the Babylon, Far Rockaway, Hempstead, Long Beach, Montauk, Port Washington, Oyster Bay or West Hempstead branches to avoid busing and delays. We regret the inconvenience, but for safety reasons, the installation of the new bridge requires a complete suspension of train service between Hicksville and Mineola.”

The outage will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning and end at 12:01 a.m. Monday morning in plenty of time for the Monday morning rush. Nowakowski said a similar weekend suspension in May when the old bridge was demolished worked out very well. “The cooperation of our customers was outstanding,” he said. “We gave them plenty of notice and many chose alternate routes or just stayed home. Once again we are asking for their help.”

The new bridge is part of a $17.5 million project that improves safety for railroad customers as well as the motorists and pedestrians who use the span. The project includes a new roadway, sidewalks, curbs, fencing and paving – all financed by the MTA Capital Program. The bridge is scheduled to open for vehicular traffic in April 2016 and all construction should be completed by June 2016.

Summary of Changes for Weekend of Saturday & Sunday October 24-25

Ronkonkoma Branch:

• Buses replace trains between Hicksville and Mineola.

• Bethpage customers will be bused between Mineola and Hicksville.

• Ronkonkoma through Farmingdale customers will travel to and from Penn Station by train without transfers, as trains will be diverted via the Central & Babylon Branches.

Port Jefferson Branch:

• Buses replace trains between Hicksville and Mineola for the entire weekend.

• Trains between Huntington and Port Jefferson will operate every two hours.

• Service between Huntington and Penn Station will operate hourly.

• Carle Place and Westbury will be served by buses only.

Other LIRR Projects Taking Place This Weekend:

In addition to the bridge work, the LIRR will take advantage of the 48-hour train service suspension by performing other critical work in the vicinity during the outage. These additional efforts will include track work and drainage improvements between Mineola and Hicksville and replacement of the 12th St. crossing in New Hyde Park. To accommodate the grade crossing improvement work, vehicular traffic will be diverted from 12th Street to Covert Avenue and New Hyde Park Road for the entire weekend.

Pick Up the Special Timetable for Your Branch

For the revised train times in effect during the October 24-25 weekend, customers should pick up a copy of the special timetable for their branch or view it online at

Traffic Detours

A reminder that during the construction of the new Ellison Avenue Bridge, only local traffic is allowed on Ellison Ave. Other vehicles must detour to Post Ave. and Cherry Lane in Westbury.

Parking at Hicksville Station

The Town of Oyster Bay parking lot on the north side of Hicksville Station will be closed on Saturday, October 24 and Sunday, October 25 to accommodate buses transporting customers between Hicksville and Mineola. Parking will be available in the Town parking garage just east of Hicksville Station.

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