FARMINGDALE, Nassau County (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced the completion of the Long Island Rail Road Double Track project.
The first trains are entering the new double track region more than a year ahead of the original construction schedule, which was accelerated in 2016 at Cuomo's direction.
The project adds a second 13-mile track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma -- a segment of the LIRR that carries 48,000 riders every weekday -- and is expected to significantly reduce delays and allow for reverse-peak service expansions.
The double track project also includes a new signal system, electrical substation modifications and new third rail electrical systems that will power the new track's trains.
Cuomo also announced the official opening of a new and fully accessible Wyandanch Station along the new double track.
"After 70 years of stagnation, we are investing $6.6 billion in 100 projects to completely transform the LIRR and improve service, and the completion of the new Double Track demonstrates our commitment to delivering results," Cuomo said. "The LIRR is the lifeblood of the region's economy, and projects like the Double Track and Third Track will help support future growth and vastly improve riders' experience on the busiest commuter rail in the country."
The Double Track allows the LIRR to immediately begin offering substantial reverse peak service on the Ronkonkoma Line in the mornings and evenings for the first time.
The new infrastructure is also expected to enhance train reliability by allowing dispatchers flexibility to route trains around problems that may arise.
"More tracks, whether it's here along the Ronkonkoma Branch corridor, but also along the Main Line in Nassau County, mean more capacity and flexibility for the LIRR," railroad president Phil Eng said. "That means fewer train delays from congestion or from an incident."
Early completion of the project will free up LIRR resources for other projects in support of LIRR's expansion and modernization like East Side Access, the Main Line Third Track and the Mid-Suffolk Train Storage Yard.
Commuters can look forward to improvements at 39 stations throughout Long Island, which will include amenities such as free public Wi-Fi, USB charging ports, bicycle racks and customer information totems.
"It's just one more step in making this a full community," Wyandanch resident Anne Stewart said.
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Long Island Rail Road Double Track project completed ahead of schedule