Let me first apologize for not posting this sooner. Anyhow….
This past Monday, the MTA Long Island Rail Road announced that for 2 weekends, there will be extremely limited service due to a major signal modernization program at & around Jamaica Station. Here are the complete details courtesy of the press release they sent out
LIRR Modernization Project Brings State of the Art Technology to Centralized Signaling and Switch Control at Jamaica
Customers advised to use LIRR for Essential Business Travel Only
• Limited LIRR Service between Jamaica & Penn during Final Installation;
• Many LIRR Customers Will Be Required to Use the E Subway Train between Penn Station and Jamaica;
• No LIRR Service between Jamaica and Atlantic Terminal;
• Significant Service Changes on all LIRR Branches Except the Port Washington Branch
LIRR customers are advised that during two weekends in the fall – October 23-24 and November 6-7 – there will be extremely limited LIRR service, especially between Jamaica Station and Penn Station, as the LIRR cuts over to a modern signal and switching control system at Jamaica.
As a result of the extremely limited service, the LIRR advises that only customers traveling for essential business – such as first responders (police, fire) and service employees with no other alternatives – should use the LIRR during these two weekends. Customers traveling for recreational purposes during this period should consider travel on the Port Washington Branch or other travel alternatives.
During the two cutover weekends, many customers will need to take the “E” subway line service between Jamaica and Penn Station.
The new signal system upgrade will bring state-of-the-art computerized microprocessor technology to Jamaica’s critical switching area and centralizes the switching and signal control from three existing signal towers at Jamaica – including Hall Tower where the switching board was damaged by a major fire last month that disrupted service.
“This project will help us get ready for the future and continue our ongoing effort to modernize the LIRR’s most critical signal and switching systems,” said LIRR President Helena E. Williams. “Last month’s fire at Jamaica underscored the need for this upgrade and we ask for customer’s patience during these two weekends. The work will help ensure reliability of train service going forward.”
Extensive testing of the new equipment requires these weekend service reductions, including no train service between Mineola and Jamaica Station, no train service between Queens Village and Jamaica, and no train service between Jamaica Station and Atlantic Terminal. LIRR train service on all branches will be significantly affected, except for the Port Washington Branch.
The key customer travel info for both weekends includes:
• LIRR should be used for essential business travel only
• Only three trains will operate each hour between Jamaica and Penn Station (about one-third regular weekend service level
• Alternative subway service is available via NYC Transit’s “E” subway line between Penn Station and Jamaica (the Archer/Sutphin stop on the “E”)
• There will be no LIRR train service between Jamaica and Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn
• Buses replace LIRR trains between Mineola and Jamaica on the Huntington/Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma (overnight period only) and Oyster Bay Branches
• Buses replace LIRR trains between Queens Village and Jamaica on the Hempstead Branch
• Babylon and Huntington weekend service will be reduced from half-hourly to hourly.
• Most Ronkonkoma trains will be re-routed along the Babylon Branch for a portion of the trip
• Allow up to 70 minutes of additional travel time
• No LIRR train or bus service will operate to/from Atlantic Terminal, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Hollis, Locust Manor, Laurelton, Rosedale, Merillon Avenue, New Hyde Park, St. Albans, Nostrand Avenue and East New York.
LIRR customers are strongly advised to pick up special weekend timetables dated October 23-24 and November 6-7 and familiarize themselves with the significant changes taking place these weekends.
Extra LIRR personnel will be on duty throughout the two weekends to assist customers and to make sure the project is completed on time.
The Jamaica Signal cutover project consists of installing a new microprocessor technology signal system in the three interlockings (signal and switching areas) that control train movement through Jamaica. These three interlockings are called Jay, Dunton and Hall. Upon completion of the project – which requires two 48-hour weekend service disruptions – signals and switches will be controlled from one facility, Jamaica Central Control; instead of the three towers located in each of these interlockings.
The project brings state-of-the-art technology to this critical LIRR location by replacing the 1910’s-era electro-mechanical Model 14 Interlocking Machines at the three towers with a modern microprocessor based system. The new more reliable system will increase operational flexibility for the large volume of trains that pass through this area, helping to reduce customer delays.
The new system also will provide redundant signal control systems and will allow for quicker recovery time in the event of a power surge, or lightning storm or fire-related service disruption like those experienced last month when high voltage power entered the signal system and damaged the wiring to the signal control board in Jamaica’s Hall Tower.
The cost of the project is approximately $56-million. Funding is provided by the MTA Capital Program.
During the cutover, train movement through Jamaica Station will be limited to two tracks (one track east and one track west). Routes will be limited through Jamaica resulting in the ability to move three trains per hour in each direction from the south shore only.
Normally, the LIRR operates 2 to 3 times more weekend trains through Jamaica from 10 of its 11 branches. As a result, buses and subway service will replace LIRR trains. Because of the route restrictions, train service will also bypass some LIRR stations.
A key element in the alternative transportation plans for the two weekends is that LIRR customers will use NYC Transit’s “E” subway service for travel between Jamaica and Penn Station.
Below is a branch-by-branch description of how service will be impacted during the two weekends.
Port Washington Branch:
Since the Port Washington Branch is the LIRR’s only branch that does not operate through Jamaica Station, regular hourly weekend service will be provided on these two weekends.
City Terminal Zone:
Jamaica – Penn Station:
Only three trains will operate each hour to/from Penn Station. Alternative subway service is available via NYC Transit’s “E” subway line operating between Penn and Jamaica (Archer/Sutphin stop on the “E”).
Jamaica – Atlantic Terminal:
There will be no train service between Jamaica and Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn.
• Eastbound customers at Atlantic Terminal are advised to take NYC Transit subway service to Penn Station, and then take one of the three trains per hour leaving Penn to either Ronkonkoma, Babylon, or Long Beach. For travel to other eastern terminals customers at Penn should take NYC Transit’s “E” subway line to Jamaica. Subway service between lower Manhattan, northern Brooklyn and Jamaica is also available via the “J” subway line.
• Westbound customers at Jamaica looking to travel to Atlantic Terminal should take NYC Transit’s “E” subway line to Penn Station, Times Square or World Trade Center for transfers to the “2” or “3” subway lines to Atlantic Terminal.
Train service is reduced from half-hourly to hourly operating direct to/from Penn Station. Trains will make all local stops between Babylon and Rockville Centre. Babylon Branch trains will also receive connections from Montauk trains at Babylon station.
Diesel service will not operate west of Babylon station. All westbound Montauk Branch trains will terminate at Babylon. All eastbound Montauk Branch trains will originate at Babylon. Connections will be available at Babylon for local train service to and from Penn Station. There are less Montauk Branch trains operating these weekends and stops have been added to other trains.
Long Beach Branch:
Long Beach Branch trains will run hourly direct to/from Penn Station making local stops between Valley Stream and Long Beach. Long Beach trains will also connect with Far Rockaway trains at Valley Stream Station.
Far Rockaway Branch:
Service is reduced from hourly to every two hours on the Far Rockaway Branch. Shuttle trains will operate between Far Rockaway and Valley Stream Station. Connections will be made at Valley Stream Station with Long Beach Branch trains for direct service to/from Penn Station.
Port Jefferson Branch (west of Huntington):
Service will run hourly instead of half-hourly between Huntington and Mineola.
• Westbound Huntington Branch customers will take trains to Mineola, where they will board buses for travel to Jamaica. At Jamaica, customers can transfer to NYC Transit’s “E” subway line for service to Penn Station.
• Eastbound Huntington Branch customers will take NYC Transit’s “E” subway line at Penn Station to Jamaica and transfer to buses bound for Mineola. At Mineola, customers will transfer to a train for the remainder of the trip to Huntington.
Port Jefferson Branch (east of Huntington):
Service will operate every two-hours instead of every 90 minutes. Westbound diesel trains will terminate at Huntington. Eastbound diesel trains will originate at Huntington. Local electric train service will operate between Huntington and Mineola. Customers will board buses for travel between Mineola and Jamaica; and transfer to/from NYC Transit’s “E” subway line at Jamaica for service between Jamaica and Penn Station.
From 7 AM to 11 PM:
Service will operate hourly between Ronkonkoma and Farmingdale stations to Penn Station using Dual-Mode diesel trains from 7:00 AM. to 11:00 PM. These dual mode trains will operate along the Babylon Branch for a portion of its route.
During overnight periods, trains will operate between Ronkonkoma and Mineola.
• Westbound Ronkonkoma Branch customers will take trains to Mineola, where they will board buses for travel to Jamaica. At Jamaica, customers will transfer to NYC Transit’s “E” subway line for service to Penn Station.
• Eastbound Ronkonkoma Branch customers will take NYC Transit’s “E” subway line at Penn Station to Jamaica and transfer to buses bound for Mineola. At Mineola, customers will transfer to a train for the remainder of the trip to Ronkonkoma.
Oyster Bay Branch:
Train service will operate every two hours between Oyster Bay and Mineola on the Oyster Bay Branch.
• Westbound Oyster Bay Branch customers will take trains to Mineola, where they will board buses for travel to Jamaica. At Jamaica, customers will transfer to NYC Transit’s “E” subway line for express service to Penn Station.
• Eastbound Oyster Bay Branch customers will take NYC Transit’s “E” subway line at Penn Station to Jamaica and transfer to buses bound for Mineola. At Mineola, customers will transfer to a train for the remainder of the trip to Oyster Bay.
Train service will be provided every two hours, instead of hourly, on the Hempstead Branch between Hempstead and Queens Village.
• Westbound Hempstead Branch customers will take trains to Queens Village where they will board buses for travel to Jamaica. At Jamaica, customers will transfer to NYC Transit’s “E” subway line for express service to Penn Station.
• Eastbound Hempstead Branch customers will take NYC Transit’s “E” subway line at Penn Station to Jamaica and transfer to buses bound for Queens Village. At Queens Village, customers will transfer to a train for the remainder of the trip to Hempstead.
Stations without service:
During the two Jamaica Cutover weekends, the following LIRR stations will not have train or bus service: Atlantic Terminal, Nostrand Avenue, East New York, Locust Manor, Laurelton, Rosedale, St. Albans, New Hyde Park, Merillon Avenue, Hollis, Kew Gardens, and Forest Hills.
Customers should pick up copies of the special October 23-24 and November 6-7 Jamaica Cutover weekend timetable for their branches at all terminals or their local stations starting in mid-October.
For additional information, customers can contact the LIRR’s Travel Information Center, in Suffolk County at 631-231-LIRR, in Nassau County at 516-822-LIRR or in New York City at 718-217-LIRR. The Travel Information Center’s TDD telephone number for the hearing impaired is 718-558-3022.
Looks like I will be driving into the city on these 2 weekends as I don’t have the patience for extreme commutes. I’m not angry about it though since the work needs to be done & it is for the better of everyone.