Valley CutoverTrain service on five MTA Long Island Rail Road South Shore branches will be affected this weekend, October 24 and 25, as work is completed on a major signal and switch modernization project in the Valley Stream area. The work will require a 48-hour suspension of train service through Valley Stream. Customers using the Babylon, Far Rockaway, Long Beach, West Hempstead and East of Ronkonkoma Branches this weekend will take buses for all or part of their trips and other trains will be diverted. Montauk Branch trains will operate, but departure times will change. To avoid delays, customers are strongly advised to use North Shore or Main Line branches this weekend. Unaffected lines include the Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Port Washington and Ronkonkoma (west of Ronkonkoma) Branches.
Giants football fans planning to use the LIRR this Sunday, October 25, are strongly advised to avoid South Shore branches and instead use one of the Railroad's north shore or Main Line branches (as described above).
"This weekend outage is needed as part of our ongoing effort to modernize the LIRR's signal system, which controls train traffic," said LIRR President Helena Williams. When it is completed it will mean fewer maintenance-related delays and better service for our customers."
Extra LIRR personnel will be on duty throughout this weekend to assist customers and to make sure the project is completed on time.
The Valley Interlocking Signal Cutover Project brings state-of-the-art technology to this critical LIRR location by replacing the 1930's-era relay based signal technology with a modern microprocessor based system. The Model 14 Interlocking Machine that relied upon electro-mechanical hand thrown switching at the Valley Tower will now use modern microprocessor-computer based technology. In addition, 29 switch machines in the area were modernized with electronic components replacing the outdated mechanical ones that had to rely on air compressors to operate. 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 cost of the project is approximately $60-million. Funding is provided by the MTA LIRR Capital Improvement Program and the Federal Transit Administration.
The service impacts are as follows: Babylon Branch
Rockville Centre Station & Baldwin Station
Westbound: Customers will board buses at their station for express bus service to Jamaica where they will transfer to trains to complete their trips.
Eastbound: Customers will board regularly scheduled trains at western terminals and transfer at Jamaica for express bus service to their stations.
Customers should anticipate increased travel time of up to 30 minutes.
Freeport Station through Lindenhurst Station
Babylon Branch customers at stations Freeport through Lindenhurst will face a major detour and will have to travel east to go west, then transfer at Babylon for service through Hicksville and all points west. This routing will also apply on the reverse trip, with customers traveling through Hicksville, then Babylon for service to stations Lindenhurst to Freeport. Customers should anticipate increased travel time of up to 50 minutes.
Customers will have hourly train service from diesel (double-decker) trains which will operate over the Central Branch and Main Line to Jamaica and Penn Station. Customers should anticipate increased travel time of up to 25 minutes. St. Albans Station
Customers will take vans to and from Jamaica for both eastbound and westbound service.
Far Rockaway Branch
Westbound: Customers will board buses at their stations and transfer to trains at Rosedale to complete their trips.
Eastbound: Customers will board trains at western terminals and transfer to buses at Rosedale for Valley Stream, Gibson, Hewlett, Woodmere, Cedarhurst, Lawrence, Inwood and Far Rockaway Stations. Customers should anticipate up to 40 minutes additional travel time. As an alternative, customers at Far Rockaway Station can use the A subway line, however buses will replace NYC Transit's subway train service between Far Rockaway and Howard Beach on the A line on the weekend of October 24 & 25. Or, Far Rockaway through Gibson customers can use LI Bus N31/32 to Hempstead, and transfer to the LIRR.
Long Beach Branch
Westbound: Customers will board trains at their stations and transfer to buses at Lynbrook for express bus service to Jamaica where they will transfer to trains to complete their trips.
Eastbound: Customers will board regularly scheduled trains at western terminals and transfer to buses at Jamaica then transfer to trains at Lynbrook for Centre Avenue, East Rockaway, Oceanside, Island Park and Long Beach Stations.
Customers should anticipate increased travel time of up to 30 minutes.
West Hempstead Branch
Buses will replace trains between Jamaica and stations Westwood through West Hempstead. Customers should anticipate increased travel time of up to 30 minutes. To avoid busing, customers are advised to use the LIRR's nearby Hempstead Branch. St. Albans customers will be provided with van service to/from Jamaica.
Main Line east of Ronkonkoma
Due to increased use of diesel trains during this weekend on the Babylon Branch, buses will replace trains between Ronkonkoma and Greenport.
Westbound: Customers will board buses at their stations and transfer to trains at Ronkonkoma to complete their trips.
Eastbound: Customers will board regularly scheduled trains to Ronkonkoma and then transfer to buses to complete their trips.
Customers should anticipate increased travel time of up to 40 minutes.
Departure times for some trains will be up to seven minutes earlier and some trains will be re-routed via the Central Branch and Main Line.
In addition to this news release, the LIRR has provided information to the public and to its employees on this major project using various media including the MTA/LIRR website, customer e-mails, on-train brochures, letters to elected officials, highway Inform signs, station posters, electronic message boards at Jamaica and Penn Station, public address system announcements, radio and newspaper advertisements, on-train announcements, and an internally produced instructional video for use on the LIRR website and on Penn Station and Jamaica monitors.
Project and service information is also available on Facebook and Twitter as "lirralerts."
Customers can also pick up copies of the special October 24-25 Valley Interlocking weekend timetable for their branches at all terminals or their local stations. Customers can also contact the LIRR's 24-hour Travel Information Center in Nassau County at 516-822-LIRR, in Suffolk County at 631-231-LIRR or New York City at 718-217-LIRR. The Travel Information Center's TDD phone number for the hearing impaired is 718-558-3022.
For more information on these service disruptions, click here
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