Train changes taking effect as Penn Station track work begins

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Derick Waller has more on the local transit woes. (Richard Drew)

Commuters who use Penn Station will see some schedule changes with Amtrak's next series of track renewal projects now underway.

Revised scheduled train operations began on Monday, January 8th after the next phase of the Infrastructure Renewal program began work on Friday.

The project is occurring in the area of Track 15, which requires a section of concrete demolition and replacement, and Track 18, which requires localized concrete demolition with complex steel hardware replacement and rail renewal. In addition, Amtrak is renewing and replacing three turnouts in "C" Interlocking, which directs Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road trains to routes heading east and to Sunnyside Yard.

The bulk of the infrastructure renewal work for 2018 is occurring on weekends, as the project scope has not changed since November's initial announcement. It is still expected to conclude on May 28, 2018, with minor modifications to Amtrak and commuter train weekday operations at New York Penn Station.

Amtrak's revised schedule includes:
--Amtrak cancelled Northeast Regional Trains 110 from Washington, D.C. (WAS) to New York Penn Station (NYP) and 127 from NYP to WAS
--Northbound Keystone Train 640 is terminating at Newark Penn Station
--Southbound Keystone Train 643 is originating at Newark Penn Station
--Southbound Train 173 is stopping at Newark Airport
--Southbound Trains 129, 193 and 653 are all having earlier departure times.
--Train 170 is also departing WAS early, is stopping at North Philadelphia and Cornwells Heights and resuming its schedule from Trenton
The project will affect a total of five New Jersey Transit trains per day, two in the a.m. peak and three in the p.m. peak periods.
--NJCL train 3216, the 6:11 a.m. eastbound Long Branch departure, will now depart at 6:23 a.m. and will be diverted to Hoboken renumbered as 2604
--NEC train 3122, the 7:06 a.m. eastbound departure from New Brunswick will terminate at Newark Penn Station renumbered as 5822.
--NJCL train 3267, the 5:25 p.m. departure from PSNY, will originate from Hoboken at 5:22 p.m. renumbered as 2609
--NEC train 3171, the 5:43 p.m. departure from PSNY, will originate at Newark Penn Station at 6:03 p.m. renumbered as 5869
--NJCL train 3441, the 6:51 p.m. departure from PSNY, will be canceled

Customers are advised that trains prior to or following the affected trains may experience crowded conditions. Customers with flexibility in their travel may consider the following alternate options:

--NJCL customers may consider utilizing private bus carriers such as Academy Bus from locations including the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel
--NJCL customers may also consider ferry service from Monmouth County including NY Waterway's ferry from Belford or Seastreak ferry from Highlands or Atlantic Highlands
--NEC customers may consider private bus carriers including Suburban Transit/Coach USA bus from points in Mercer and Middlesex counties
--Customers may also utilize NJ TRANSIT bus service on the Route 9 corridor

Visit NJTransit.com for the latest updates.

As for the LIRR, five of the 98 morning rush hour trains that normally go to Penn Station will be rerouted, along with three of the 86 evening rush hour trains that normally depart from Penn Station.

To reduce the impact of these diversions, the LIRR is adding five trains before or after rush hours -- two in the morning and three in the afternoon/evening. The LIRR is also adding cars to five trains to increase seating capacity. In addition, two evening rush hour trains will be combined with alternative trains that depart within six to 11 minutes and serve all affected stations.

"With five percent of rush hour trains being affected compared with 20 percent during Amtrak's intensive work at Penn this past summer, this will have a significantly smaller impact than the one felt this past summer," LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski said. "We are committed to providing our customers with exemplary service and travel options despite this small disruption. We are maintaining capacity by lengthening select trains and adding trains just before and just after rush hours when we have available timeslots."

LIRR CHANGES:
Babylon Branch

The LIRR will add a new train departing Freeport at 5:43 a.m. and stopping at Baldwin, Rockville Centre and Jamaica and arriving at Penn Station at 6:24 a.m.
The 6:56 a.m. train from Wantagh, which currently stops at Bellmore and Merrick before running express to Penn Station, will add a stop at Jamaica to allow for connecting service to Penn Station, then will continue to Atlantic Terminal, where it will arrive at 7:45 a.m.
The LIRR will add two cars to the 7:35 a.m. train from Babylon making all stops to Seaford then running express to Jamaica and Penn Station. This train will be lengthened to 12 cars, from the usual 10, adding more than 200 extra seats.
The 7:44 AM train from Merrick, which currently stops at Freeport and Baldwin before running express to Penn Station, will depart 3 minutes earlier at 7:41 AM and will add a stop at Jamaica to allow customers to change for connecting service to Penn Station, then will continue to Hunterspoint Avenue, where it will arrive at 8:25 a.m.
The 8:25 a.m. train from Freeport, which currently stops at Baldwin, Rockville Centre and Jamaica en route to Penn Station, will be rerouted to Atlantic Terminal, where it will arrive at 9:07 a.m. Connecting service is available at Jamaica.
The LIRR will add two cars to the 4:34 p.m. train from Penn Station, running express to Seaford then making all stops to Babylon, lengthening the train to 12 cars from the usual 10, adding more than 200 extra seats.
To provide a later departure time for customers using Hunterspoint Avenue and traveling on the Babylon, Hempstead, Long Beach and Ronkonkoma Branches, the LIRR will add a new train departing Hunterspoint Avenue at 7:02 p.m. and stopping at Rockville Centre and Baldwin en route to arriving at Freeport at 7:42 p.m. This train makes connections at Jamaica for trains bound for Babylon, Hempstead, Long Beach and Ronkonkoma.

Far Rockaway Branch
The 8:10 a.m. train from Far Rockaway, which currently makes all local stops to Valley Stream, then Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Penn Station, will be rerouted to Hunterspoint Avenue, where it will arrive at 9:04 a.m. This train will not stop at Kew Gardens or Forest Hills. Connecting service is available at Jamaica.
The train that currently originates at 5:32 p.m. at Penn Station and terminates at Far Rockaway at 6:24 p.m., will instead originate at Jamaica at 5:52 p.m. Customers at Penn Station can connect with this train by boarding the 5:23 p.m. Long Beach Branch train or the 5:24 p.m. train to Freeport and changing at Jamaica.

Hempstead Branch
The 5:38 p.m. train from Penn Station, due into Hempstead at 6:36 p.m., will originate at Atlantic Terminal at 5:47 p.m. Customers from Penn Station can connect with this train by boarding the 5:33 p.m. train to Hicksville and changing at Jamaica.
The 7:05 p.m. train from Penn Station, due into Hempstead at 7:56 p.m., will originate at Atlantic Terminal at 7:10 p.m. Customers from Penn Station can connect with this train by boarding the 7:08 p.m. Babylon Branch train and changing at Jamaica.

Long Beach Branch
The 8:03 a.m. train from Long Beach, making all local stops to Lynbrook before running express to Penn Station, will add a stop at Jamaica to allow for connecting service to Penn Station, then will continue to East New York, Nostrand Avenue and Atlantic Terminal, where it will arrive at 8:54 a.m.
The LIRR will add two cars to the 8:08 a.m. train from Long Beach, making all local stops to Valley Stream, then Jamaica, Woodside, and Penn Station. The train will be lengthened to 12 cars from the usual 10, adding more than 200 seats.

Port Jefferson Branch
The 5:06 p.m. train from Penn Station, which runs express to Syosset then stops at Cold Spring Harbor and Huntington, will not operate. Customers will be able to board the 5:17 p.m. train from Penn Station, which runs express to Westbury, then stops at Hicksville, Syosset, Cold Spring Harbor and Huntington.

Port Washington Branch
The LIRR will add a new afternoon train departing Penn Station at 3:40 p.m., stopping at Woodside, then making all stops to Great Neck, where it will arrive at 4:15 p.m.
The 5:50 p.m. train from Penn Station, which runs express to Bayside, then stops at Douglaston, Little Neck and Great Neck, will not operate. Customers will be able to board the 5:56 p.m. train from Penn Station, which makes all local stops to Great Neck. The 5:56 p.m. train will have four cars added, lengthening the train to 12 cars from the usual eight, adding more than 400 seats.
The LIRR will add two cars to the 7:27 p.m. train from Penn Station, due into Port Washington at 8:04 p.m., lengthening the train to 12 cars from the usual 10, adding more than 200 seats.

Ronkonkoma Branch
The LIRR will add a new early morning train departing Farmingdale at 5:05 a.m. making local stops along the Main Line, and arriving at Penn Station at 6:00 a.m.
The LIRR will add a new early afternoon train departing Penn Station at 1:49 p.m., then stopping at Woodside, Jamaica, Mineola, Hicksville, Bethpage, and all stops to Ronkonkoma, where it will arrive at 3:07 p.m.

For full service details by branch, visit MTA.info/LIRR.

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