The Cannonball, the Long Island Rail Road's fastest train to the East End, is now running non-stop from Manhattan for the first time since the train was introduced back in the 1890s. It arrives in Westhampton 94 minutes after departing from Penn Station, with follow-up stops at Southampton, East Hampton, Bridgehampton and Montauk. It's a one-seat, $27 ride, with reserved seating available for an extra charge. The Cannonball has traditionally departed from the Hunterspoint Avenue Station in Long Island City, Queens, but now it's running from Penn Station. It made its inaugural run from Penn on May 24, 2013.
The Cannonball will depart every Friday from Penn Station at 4:07 PM as a peak train, arriving in Westhampton by 5:41 PM, covering 76 miles in just one hour and 34 minutes. Then on Sunday evenings, the LIRR also will introduce the Cannonball (West), bringing customers back from Montauk to Penn Station, including a nonstop run from Westhampton to Jamaica and then on to Penn.
The new service blasts off every week through the Labor Day weekend offering the added benefit of the LIRR’s Hamptons Reserve Service – a reserved seat and wait staff to pamper you – for an extra charge.
“There’s no better way to get from Manhattan to the Hamptons,” said LIRR President Helena E. Williams. “Our customers have long asked for a one-seat ride from Penn Station to the Hamptons and we are listening to them. This move eliminates the need to change trains with baggage at Jamaica.”
“This is a good move for the East End,” said MTA Board Member Mitch Pally. “The LIRR clearly is responding to increased customer demand for direct service to Suffolk County, especially in the summer months during the height of the tourist and vacation season. This will help the local economy.”
Hello Hamptons, Goodbye Traffic
To alleviate crowding, extra LIRR trains have been added for this summer season on the Montauk Branch through the Labor Day Weekend.
At Penn Station, customers board comfortable, bi-level coaches powered by a dual-mode locomotive that will operate on electric power from Penn Station and later switch to diesel power. The designated platform for the Cannonball will be Track 19 out of Penn Station but customers are advised to listen for announcements at Penn Station in the event of a track change. The double-deckers are fully air conditioned with comfortable 2x2 seating on each level. Westhampton is the first stop at 5:41 PM., followed by Southampton at 6:03 PM, Bridgehampton 6:13 PM, East Hampton 6:25 PM and Montauk 6:48 PM. The eastbound Cannonball will not stop at Hampton Bays or Amagansett.
‘Cannonball’ (West) Will Provide Return Service on Sunday Evening
On Sundays, the LIRR will introduce return Cannonball (West) service, leaving Montauk at 6:37 PM, East Hampton at 7:01 PM, Bridgehampton at 7:10 PM, Southampton at 7:20 PM, Hampton Bays at 7:31 PM and Westhampton at 7:39 PM. The train will then run express to Jamaica, arriving at 9:09 PM and complete its journey at Penn Station, arriving at 9:31 PM. Customers also will be able to reserve seats for an extra fee on the westbound Cannonball via the Hamptons Reserve service.
Customers are urged to consider buying roundtrip reserved tickets to ensure a seat on this popular train. To help achieve an on-time departure, Cannonball customers also are urged to arrive early at Penn Station and give themselves extra time to board. The LIRR reserves the right to restrict the number of standees on the Cannonball trains in order to maintain safety standards. Luggage also must be placed properly under seats or on overhead racks to avoid blocking doors, aisles and exits.
The Cannonball has a long history of service to the East End and was first introduced as an express train that operated between Long Island City and Southampton in the 1890s. Ferries transported Manhattanites to the Queens shore in the days before the construction of Penn Station and the East River Tunnels. The Cannonball is the only named train operated by the LIRR and it makes the longest run on the MTA map, covering a distance of 117 miles from Manhattan to Montauk.
Improved Service for the East End
The new Cannonball service is part of a larger effort by the LIRR to improve Montauk service this season to meet growing demand. The LIRR’s Montauk Branch saw a 34% increase in summer ridership in 2012 compared to 2011.
“The East End and Fire Island are key tourist and vacation destinations and the Long Island Rail Road is continually looking for ways to better serve these important markets,” Williams said.
Montauk schedules have been revised and adjusted to close service gaps on weekends and to address growing demand for stations that serve customers taking ferries to Fire Island via Bay Shore, Sayville and Patchogue.
For example, a weekday eastbound train from Jamaica to Speonk has been added departing Jamaica at 12:43 PM. In addition, a westbound train has been scheduled from Speonk at 3:05 PM as an extension of an existing service that previously started from Patchogue. These new scheduled services will run weekdays from Memorial Day through Columbus Day.
Hamptons Reserve Service
Tickets for exclusive Hamptons Reserve Service are priced at $47 when purchased in advance. The package includes a one-way rail ticket for $27 plus a Hamptons Reserve seat charge of $20 allowing customers to enjoy reserved seating and the service of onboard attendants who serve snacks and beverages at their seats. Seat reservations must be made in advance and customers can make seasonal and weekly reservations for Hamptons Reserve Service. For more information go to http://www.mta.info/lirr/hamptons
Midtown to Montauk Service:
Cannonball (East) - Fridays only May 24-August 30 and on Wednesday, July 3
• Departs Penn Station every Friday at 4:07 PM, stopping at Westhampton at 5:41 PM, Southampton at 6:03 PM, Bridgehampton at 6:13 PM, East Hampton at 6:25 PM and Montauk at 6:48 PM. The Cannonball East will not stop at Hampton Bays or Amagansett.
Cannonball (West) - Sundays except on the Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekends when it will run on Monday. It will also run on Thursday, July 4.
• Departs Montauk at 6:37 PM, East Hampton at 7:01 PM, Bridgehampton at 7:10 PM, Southampton at 7:20 PM, Hampton Bays at 7:31 PM, Westhampton at 7:39 PM, Jamaica at 9:11 PM and arrives at Penn Station at 9:31 PM. The Cannonball West will not stop at Amagansett.
For More Information
Customers can find new Montauk timetables at terminals and at stations along the branch as well as the MTA website www.mta.info/lirr or
by calling 511, the New York State Travel Information Line and saying “LIRR” If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use your preferred relay service provider on the free 711 relay to reach the LIRR at 511.