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  5. LIRR to Grand Central: Frequently asked questions

LIRR to Grand Central: Frequently asked questions

Updated Jul 18, 2022

LIRR service and schedules

When does LIRR service to Grand Central begin?  

Service is scheduled to begin by the end of 2022. An exact opening date has not yet been determined.  

Can I see schedules for LIRR service to Grand Central? 

We have created a draft systemwide schedule for when LIRR service to Grand Central begins. There are timetables that show service divided into 17 different segments based on predominant service patterns.

The MTA says that new schedules will increase the percentage of service. Is that compared to pre-COVID service levels or the reduced service levels in effect now? 

The percentage increase is based on the current level of service, which is 89% of our pre-COVID service.  

Will there be more options for Metro-North Railroad riders who work on Long Island?  

The new schedules will have more eastbound service during the morning rush hour. If you’re coming from Metro-North, you can now transfer to an LIRR train directly at Grand Central Terminal. Use our future trip planner to see what a trip might look like.

How will the MTA increase reverse commuting opportunities on Long Island? 

For the first time, under new the proposed schedules, 53 reverse-peak trains are being added per weekday, increasing the number to 134 trains per weekday. This is a 65% increase. Much of this is thanks to the completion of the Main Line Expansion project this year and the Double Track project in 2018. Use our future trip planner to see what a reverse peak travel trip might look like.

The MTA says 45% of LIRR customers will be going to Grand Central Madison. Have you considered an increase in ridership as New York continues to recover from the pandemic? 

As ridership continues to change with the growth of new markets and stabilizing patterns post-COVID, we will continually be monitoring both ridership and service performance. What service we can run into Penn Station in the near future will be limited by construction in the Station and in the East River Tunnels, but we will adjust cars, stops, and trains wherever it is justified and wherever the capacity exists. 

Grand Central Madison

Will new shops and restaurants open at the same time that service begins?

Retail and dining options will not be available when LIRR service to Grand Central begins. Plans are underway to have some pop-up kiosks available in 2023. 

Will fares to Grand Central Madison be the same as fares to Penn Station?  

Yes. Grand Central Madison is in Fare Zone 1. 

Where will accessible elevators be located?

There are elevators serving every level and platform at Grand Central Madison. There are multiple accessible routes from the street and the existing Grand Central Terminal concourse level. Every new street entrance into the station is accessible, including the One Vanderbilt entrance that also serves the 42nd Street

The entrances are located at 44th, 45th, 46th, 47th and 48th Streets. 

Will LIRR Care be available at Grand Central and for customers transferring from Metro-North Railroad? 

Yes. LIRR Care will be available at Grand Central Madison and ambassadors will function as they do at other LIRR hubs like Penn Station, Atlantic Terminal, or Jamaica. We will also be coordinating with Metro-North for customers looking to transfer between railroads using LIRR Care. 

Will travel to Grand Central Madison involve transfers?  

Depending on the LIRR branch or train you travel on, there may be transfers or connections necessary to travel to Grand Central Madison. You can check out all the draft schedules at https://gcmtrips.mta.info/ 

How long will it take to transfer from trains at the LIRR concourse to Metro-North Railroad? 

Depending on where you exit from your LIRR train and which terminal/platform you are traveling to, it could take approximately 5 to 10 minutes to get to Metro-North Railroad trains. 

Service changes

LIRR service to Grand Central is designed to offer greater access to Manhattan, but on the Port Washington Branch, customers from Great Neck, Plandome, Manhasset, and Port Washington have fewer options to Penn Station on weekday mornings.   

There are more trains to Manhattan under this service plan, but they are split between Penn Station and Grand Central Madison. We understand that some customers will prefer the current schedules based on their own specific itineraries. However, the new schedules were designed to accommodate the greatest number of customers by creating options to both the east and west sides of the city that had heretofore never existed. The new schedules will also ease congestion and reduce crowding at Penn Station, and offer an array of options to riders on all branches. 

Why do my express trains now make more stops? All my options to Manhattan now take longer. 

Many trains will have new stopping patterns in response to ridership demand. In addition, to provide people with more transfer options, all non-Port Washington Branch trains will now stop at Jamaica. While some trips may be longer, service will be more reliable. We will continue to monitor ridership and reliability and make changes as needed in response to customer demand and service performance. 

Commutes from stations like Queens Village, Hollis, Rosedale, Laurelton, and Locust Manor will be increasing by 15 minutes on average and require transfers.  

Brooklyn-bound customers will see a 28% increase in the number of daily trains. We have also increased service at Queens Village, Hollis, Rosedale, Laurelton and Locust Manor to bolster Queens service opportunities. Trains will run approximately every 12 minutes in both directions to and from Jamaica during peak hours and every 20 minutes during off-peak hours. Every train will make stops at Nostrand Avenue and East New York. 

I’m concerned about the amount of time it will take to get to the new Brooklyn platform if I’m getting off at Track 3 or 4 at Jamaica to transfer to Brooklyn. 

The transfer options provided in the new trip planner account for the time necessary to access tracks 11 and 12 at Jamaica for Brooklyn service. 

Why aren’t there more options and benefits to diesel territory? 

Our diesel fleet size remains unchanged, which limits our ability to add service in diesel territory. Where possible, we’ve improved the spacing between trains to improve the regularity of service during rush hour. Additionally, bi-level diesel equipment, which is necessary to run service in diesel territory, does not fit in the tunnels to Grand Central Madison. 

After the work in the East River Tunnels and Harold Interlocking is completed, are there any plans to increase service at Penn Station in the peak period under the proposed timetable? 

Our team will be monitoring ridership growth as those projects approach completion and we will adjust service accordingly.