NEW YORK --
There is some extra Monday madness for commuters, as there are big changes across many branches of the Long Island Rail Road.
Some of the deepest service cuts the LIRR has ever made in its 176-year history are now in effect.
The changes impact roughly 14,000 commuters, with late-night Brooklyn commuters taking the biggest hit.
There is no more LIRR service to and from Brooklyn and the Atlantic terminal between midnight and 5 a.m. The busy Port Washington line will see off-peak weekday trains and all weekend service reduced from every half hour to every hour.
Some morning and evening rush hour trains will run fewer times or be canceled altogether, which will likely lead to more crowded trains. And weekend service to nearly a dozen stations, including West Hempstead, is also disappearing.
The service cuts are the latest step by the MTA to close a $900 million budget gap.
The reduction in service is the latest slap in the face to LIRR riders.
Last month, a fire near the Jamaica station damaged a switching system and disrupted train service for a week.
And that's not all. Fare hikes are expected to take effect in January. LIRR ticket prices could increase as much as 9.4 percent.
Overnight service is eliminated between Atlantic Terminal and Jamaica. On weeknights and weekends, train service to/from Brooklyn will be available until approximately midnight and resume around 5:30 AM. The last eastbound train on weekdays will be the 11:55 PM from Atlantic Terminal; the first westbound train weekday mornings will be the 5:33 PM from Jamaica, arriving Atlantic Terminal at 5:51 AM. The last eastbound train on weekends will be the 11:55 PM from Atlantic Terminal; the first westbound train weekend mornings will be the 5:29 PM from Jamaica, arriving Atlantic Terminal at 5:49 AM.
Long Beach Branch The 6:09 AM train to Atlantic Terminal has been cancelled. Service is available at 5:35 AM or 6:37 AM.
Far Rockaway Branch The morning peak train departing Valley Stream at 6:30 AM, Rosedale at 6:33 AM, Laurelton at 6:36 AM & Locust Manor at 6:38 AM is canceled.
Montauk Branch The 4:30 PM train from Hunterspoint Avenue to Montauk will only operate on Fridays through October. After Friday, October 8, the train will be taken out of the schedule, and brought back in May 2011 as a seasonal, Friday-only train. An Amagansett stop has been added to the 4:06 PM train from Hunterspoint Avenue in order to close a gap in service.
Port Washington Branch Midday weekday service and all weekend service is reduced from every half-hour to every hour. On weekdays there are 14 trains removed from the schedule with stops added to the remaining trains where needed, to provide service to all stations each hour. On weekends 32 trains are removed from the schedule. The LIRR has decided to restore the 4:43 PM peak hour train from Penn Station to Port Washington so that the departures from Penn Station in the 4:15 PM to 5:15 PM hour will be as follows: 4:22 PM to Port Washington; 4:25 PM to Great Neck; 4:43 PM to Port Washington; 4:46 PM to Great Neck; and 5:11 PM to Port Washington.
Ronkonkoma Branch The 4:34 PM train to Ronkonkoma from Atlantic Terminal is canceled. The 4:24 PM Penn Station-Ronkonkoma train will have an added stop at Jamaica and the 4:31 PM Penn Station-Huntington train will have added stops at New Hyde Park, Merillon Avenue, Mineola, Carle Place and Westbury to accommodate affected customers.
Main Line-Greenport Weekend service will only be available from Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day Weekend. As a result, weekend service will not be available starting October 16, 2010 until the Memorial Day Weekend.
West Hempstead Branch Weekend service is eliminated starting the weekend of September 18 & 19. Alternate weekend service is available at Valley Stream, or at Babylon or Hempstead Branch stations. The 8:28 AM peak train to Atlantic Terminal has been canceled and other departure times of AM peak trains have been altered to provide more evenly spaced morning service with an AM schedule as follows: 5:37 AM; 6:53 AM; 7:36 AM; 8:07 AM; and 8:54 AM.
Jury Duty Special Starting September 13, the "Jury Duty Special" train will begin operating on the Main Line/Ronkonkoma Branch to get Suffolk jurors to Riverhead before 9 AM every day the courts are in session. The train will depart from Deer Park at 7:54 AM, making stops at Brentwood (7:59 AM), Central Islip (8:03 AM), Ronkonkoma (8:10 AM), Medford (8:21 AM), Yaphank (8:29 AM) and arriving in Riverhead at 8:55 AM, where a free shuttle bus will take jurors to nearby courthouses. The process is reversed in the afternoon, with trains leaving Riverhead Station at 1:21 PM and 3:58 PM. More than 30,000 Suffolk County residents are summoned to serve on juries in Riverhead every year.
Construction/Track Work Projects
Babylon Branch (also affecting Port Jefferson, Oyster Bay, Montauk trains) Midday weekdays, one of two main tracks between Freeport and Amityville will be out of service for a track tie replacement program. One local train will operate in each direction each hour. The second Babylon local train will originate and terminate in Freeport and have added stops at Lynbrook and St. Albans each hour. Semi-express service will remain hourly with added stops at Amityville, Copiague and Lindenhurst and no stops at Freeport and Massapequa. Train times will be adjusted up to 31 minutes later. There will also be some minor schedule adjustments for connecting trains at Jamaica for some Port Jefferson/Huntington, Oyster Bay, and Montauk Branch trains.
Far Rockaway Branch (also affecting Hempstead, Huntington, Long Beach trains) Midday weekdays, one of two main tracks between Valley Stream and Far Rockaway will be out of service for a track tie replacement program. Eastbound Far Rockaway trains will operate 30 minutes later and eastbound Hempstead Branch trains (connecting at Jamaica) will also operate 30 minutes later. Eastbound Long Beach trains will operate 35 minutes later. Some midday eastbound Huntington trains will operate three minutes later.
Customers should pick up a copy of the September 13-November 14, 2010 timetable for their branches at stations and terminals in early September and are strongly encouraged to take the time to closely review the new schedules.
Schedule information is also available from 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.
For more information visit www.mta.info.