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Introducing LIRR service to Grand Central

This new service is the most transformative change to Long Island Rail Road service in a century.

Long Island Rail Road service to Manhattan’s east side will soon become a reality. At the end of this year, LIRR trains will begin running to Grand Central Madison, a new train concourse below Grand Central Terminal. This will give LIRR two entry points to Manhattan’s Central Business District.

More LIRR trains will run during peak hours and there will be better reverse commuting options to Long Island. Two new tunnels between Manhattan and Queens will increase train capacity to and from New York City by 50% and improve reliability. 

This transformative rail service is the first expansion of LIRR service in more than a century. 

It is the culmination of several infrastructure projects — including the Main Line Expansion from Floral Park to Hicksville, and the Double Track Project from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma — that allow us to run more trains and provide more reliable service. These projects have also added new stations and bridges on Long Island, eliminated grade crossings, and replaced old tracks and signals.

About Grand Central Madison

Customers taking LIRR to Grand Central Madison will arrive at a new 700,000-square-foot terminal, which runs alongside Madison Avenue from 43rd Street to 48th Street. This station will have space for retail and restaurants, spacious waiting areas, free Wi-Fi, and real-time departure information. 

We expect about 45% of LIRR passengers to use the new service to Grand Central, which will help reduce crowding at Penn Station. 

Grand Central Madison has four new entrances to Madison Avenue, as well as new entrances into the existing spaces of Grand Central and the passageways between 45th and 47th streets. The new terminal will have eight tracks and four platforms on two new levels below the existing lower level of Grand Central Terminal. Tracks are fully separate from Metro-North Railroad, ensuring that neither railroad causes delays to the other.

A sign on a digital screen that is hanging in a train station.
A police officer in uniform stands next to a sign on a train. The sign reads "Penn Station? Think more grand"

Changes to LIRR service

When service to Grand Central begins at the end of the year, there will be new schedules on every branch of LIRR. We developed the new Long Island Rail Road service plan based on studies and demand analysis.

System-wide changes

  • More evenly spaced trains and fewer large gaps in service 
  • More frequent service to Queens 
  • More frequent service on the Ronkonkoma and West Hempstead branches  
  • More trains in the early-morning and late-evening rush hours 
  • A 28% increase in Brooklyn service

Benefits 

  • A more than 40% overall increase in LIRR service
  • One-seat rides to Manhattan’s East Side from many stations
  • Better reverse commuting options to Long Island
  • Seamless transfers to Metro-North
  • Decreased travel times from Long Island to Manhattan 
  • A modern train concourse with retail, Wi-Fi, and other amenities 
  • Less crowding at Penn Station 

Next steps

Our goal is to ensure that customers understand how LIRR service will change when this new plan launches at the end of the year.

Beginning this month, we will hold several virtual information sessions, which will be recorded and available for customers. Starting in the fall we will be out in full force in stations and throughout affected communities to help bring wider awareness about changes to LIRR service. 

Customer engagement sessions

We will hold three virtual information sessions where LIRR staff will offer presentations about the new timetables at the following dates and times:

Following these information sessions, a virtual public meeting — where the public will have the chance to offer comments on the timetables — will be held on Wednesday, July 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. (Register to comment at the public meeting.)