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Full Long Island Rail Road Service to Grand Central Madison to Begin Monday, Feb. 27

Long Island Rail Road
Updated February 8, 2023 2:45 p.m.
A train pulling into a large station.

Timetables Available via TrainTime App and on MTA Website

Railroad to Increase Weekday Service 41% Systemwide

296 Trains Per Day to Serve Grand Central Madison

View Photos of Grand Central Madison


MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber today announced full Long Island Rail Road service to Grand Central Madison will take effect on Monday, Feb. 27, adding 271 LIRR trains per day, increasing LIRR systemwide service to 936 trains per day, of which 296 will be to or from Grand Central Madison. Service levels will increase 41% over today’s schedules of 665 daily trains and create reverse-peak service on the Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma Branches for the first time. Train schedules are available via the TrainTime app and at mta.info, where users can find pdf timetables or create point-to-point itineraries.

“Faster, more convenient travel that brings Long Island closer to the heart of the City will be a major shot in the arm for the local economy and the effort to get people back to offices, theaters, and shopping,” Chair Lieber said. “We’re excited for riders to get acquainted with the new schedules. You can check out new trip options, plan trips and buy tickets in the TrainTime app. New timetables are also posted on the MTA website.”

“This is the biggest service increase in LIRR history,” said Catherine Rinaldi, Interim President of the Long Island Rail Road and President of Metro-North Railroad. “Long Islanders will benefit from a combination of Grand Central Madison service, the new LIRR Main Line third track and a second NYC terminal that links to the east side. The LIRR has created a new schedule with robust reverse commute service that links the entire region to Long Island’s homes, jobs, entertainment and education.”

Customers can see their new trip options, plan trips, and buy LIRR tickets in the TrainTime app. New timetables are posted to new.mta.info. For help with trip planning or questions about the new schedules, customers should use the “Chat with us” option in the TrainTime app.

All eleven branches of the LIRR will offer service to Grand Central Madison and Penn Station, in some cases via transfers, and the schedules provide rush-hour through-service to Brooklyn from Freeport, Hempstead and West Hempstead. Branch-by-branch service summaries follow.

Babylon Branch

Overall service on the branch will increase to 155 trains a day, 30 more trains than operate today, a service increase of 24%, and more of them will travel directly to Manhattan, 153 compared with 118 today. Peak period riders will have 21 more trains to choose from daily, a 53% increase in service. Trains will generally make all local stops to Wantagh or run express to Wantagh and then make all stops to Babylon, with schedules timed to enable seamless transfers at Wantagh. There will also be five through trains between Freeport and Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, reverse peak service is also growing, by five trains or 31%. Off-peak, at least two trains per hour will run between Manhattan and Babylon making all local stops between Rockville Centre and Babylon, with hourly service to Penn Station and to Grand Central. In addition, a limited stop train will run between Penn Station and Babylon during most off-peak hours, stopping only at Jamaica, Freeport, Bellmore, Massapequa, Amityville, and Babylon.

On weekends, the LIRR is adding 23 trains per day, a 28% service increase. Customers will now have the choice to travel directly to Penn Station or directly to Grand Central. Some stations will have access to additional limited-stop trains connecting with trains to or from Patchogue.

Far Rockaway Branch

The LIRR is dramatically increasing the number of direct trains per day between Far Rockaway and Manhattan, from eight trains today, seven of them in the peak, to 60 trains daily, covering all time periods. Off-peak, the branch’s primary western terminal will become Grand Central. Overall, the branch will host seven more trains per day, a 13% increase over current levels. During peak hours, 11 morning and 10 evening trains will operate, split roughly evenly between Penn Station and Grand Central.

Off peak, trains will run every hour between Far Rockaway and Manhattan (Grand Central on weekdays, Penn Station on weekends).

All trains will stop Jamaica for service to Brooklyn and most will stop at Locust Manor, Laurelton, and Rosedale, which are receiving significant rush hour service increases ranging from 47% to 56% over current schedules.

Hempstead Branch

The LIRR is dramatically increasing the number of direct trains per day between Hempstead and Manhattan, from 13 trains today, nine of them during the peak, to 57 trains daily, covering all time periods. The branch’s weekday off-peak western terminal will shift from Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn, to Grand Central, with 42 trains daily while maintaining 13 at Penn Station and 2 at Atlantic Terminal. Overall, the LIRR is adding seven trains a day to the Hempstead Branch, increasing service by 14%.

During the peak period, 18 trains will run to and from Manhattan, split evenly between Penn Station and Grand Central. One train in the morning and one in the afternoon will operate to/from Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn. All trains will stop at Jamaica, where transfer opportunities are available to all western terminals. Off-Peak, trains will run every hour between Hempstead and Grand Central.

Regular year-round service will begin to Elmont-UBS Arena, Floral Park will see a 22% increase in peak service, and Hollis and Queens Village will see an 83% increase in rush hour service. Weekend service at these three stations doubles, with trains running every half hour, or hourly to Penn Station and hourly to Grand Central.

Long Beach Branch

The new schedules offer 12 morning rush hour trains and 11 evening rush hour trains, an increase of five per day. Total rush hour service to Manhattan rises to 23 trains daily, split between Penn Station and Grand Central, up by 10 from the 13 rush hour trains at Penn today. Service to Manhattan in the early morning arriving between 6 and 7 a.m. will rise to three trains per day, up from one today. 

Reverse peak service will increase to 10 trains daily, up from seven today.

At Lynbrook on weekdays, 17 morning peak trains and 14 evening peak trains will run to and from Manhattan, roughly evenly split between Penn Station and Grand Central and rush hour service is more evenly spaced. All trains will stop at Jamaica, where transfer opportunities will be available to Brooklyn.

Montauk Branch

The new timetables include adjusted rush hour departure times for trains originating in Speonk to improve the even spacing of trains. Additional Hicksville and Mineola stops will be added to better serve those commuting to Nassau County employment hubs. The new timetables include a new early morning train to Patchogue, originating at Babylon at 5:40 a.m.

There will continue to be two direct trains between Speonk and Penn Station each rush hour, and South Fork Commuter Connection service will continue to run and bring riders back to Speonk, instead of terminating at Westhampton in response to a desire stated by South Fork customers.

There will be additional service to/from Montauk between Memorial Day and Labor Day including the popular Cannonball trains, which will continue to operate to and from Penn Station.

Oyster Bay Branch

The overall number of trains on the Oyster Bay Branch is increasing to 32 per weekday, up from 28 that operate today, a service increase of 10%. Off-peak, midday weekday service continues to run every one to two hours, and weekend service will run every two hours. There will continue to be two direct rush hour trains between Oyster Bay and Penn Station.

Port Jefferson Branch

The LIRR will add 38 trains per weekday, an increase of 39% over current levels, to the Port Jefferson Branch.

During the peak period, the LIRR will increase service by seven trains daily, or 19% over existing levels. From stations east of Greenlawn, trains will be better spaced to provide service at more desirable times. Stations along the recently completed third track between Hicksville and Floral Park will see notable peak hour service increases, ranging from 40% to 133% depending on the station and time of day.

Weekday peak service has been increased by 51% at Mineola and 43% at Hicksville.

Reverse-peak service will receive significant improvements, with 11 trains added (a 91% service increase) and gaps in service of two hours in the morning and 90 minutes in the evening now eliminated.

Port Washington Branch

The opening of Grand Central Madison allows the LIRR to add 13 trains a day to Port Washington Branch timetables, bringing service on the branch up to 103 trains daily, a 14% service increase.

During the weekday AM and PM peak, alternate trains will serve Penn Station and Grand Central. Some peak trains will make all stops to Bayside, then continue to Great Neck with stops at Douglaston and Little Neck. Other trains will make their first stop at Bayside or Great Neck, and then make all stops to Port Washington. Queens stations see up to 40% more AM peak service and some see up to 57% more PM peak service, and the new schedules offer more express trains for Bayside, Douglaston, and Little Neck stations.

For reverse-peak commuters traveling as far as Great Neck, the new timetables eliminate an 85-minute gap in morning eastbound service and 72-minute gap in evening westbound service.

Off-Peak and weekend travelers will be able to access trains every half hour between Manhattan and Port Washington, with hourly service to Penn Station and Grand Central. Murray Hill, Broadway, Auburndale, and Plandome service is doubled, as all trains will make all stops.

Ronkonkoma Branch

The opening of Grand Central Madison represents the latest milestone in four and a half years of concerted construction that has lifted capacity constraints that have long prevented the branch from realizing its full bidirectional service potential.

Assisted by the opening of Main Line Third Track last October, the new Mid-Suffolk Yard in Ronkonkoma in October 2020 and the second track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma in September 2018, overall service on the Ronkonkoma Branch will increase to 117 trains a day, a 50% increase over the current 78 daily trains that operate today, including those traveling east of Ronkonkoma. All trains will operate to Manhattan.

Rush hour service will increase to 42 trains a day, 12 more trains than today, a 40% increase in service. Trains will alternate between Penn Station and Grand Central.

Reverse peak, service is expanding even more, to 18 trains a day, from 12 trains that operate today. The new schedules will eliminate a 95-minute gap in eastbound service during the morning rush when no trains could depart Manhattan between 6:07 a.m. and 9:01 a.m., and a 76-minute p.m. gap in reverse-peak service in which no trains could arrive in Manhattan between 6:06 p.m. and 7:22 p.m. under current capacity constraints.

During off-peak times and weekends, trains will operate twice an hour, with hourly service to Penn Station and Grand Central.

East of Ronkonkoma, the existing afternoon Yaphank train is extended to Riverhead, as is its westbound return trip, providing an additional service opportunity to and from the county seat. Additional trains will run during the summer.

West Hempstead Branch

The LIRR will add 13 trains a day to the West Hempstead Branch, bringing the total number of trains to 39 daily, an increase of 50%, and the trains will serve Manhattan directly during rush hours. During off-peak and weekend times, when the branch’s trains had previously ended at Valley Stream, service is being extended to Brooklyn.

Five morning peak trains and six evening peak trains will run on the West Hempstead Branch with all trains will stopping at St. Albans, which will also see additional service from the Babylon Branch. There are now three morning through trains to Manhattan (up from one) and four from Manhattan in the afternoon (up from zero).

Off-peak trains will run every hour between West Hempstead and Atlantic Terminal. All West Hempstead Branch trains will stop at St. Albans. New early morning reverse-commute service will be added at St. Albans for hospital workers. Overall reverse-peak service on the branch is more than doubling, to six trains, up from two currently.

Service to Atlantic Terminal, Nostrand Avenue and East New York

The LIRR is adding 36 trains per day to Atlantic Terminal, bringing 155 trains to or from the terminal daily, an increase of 30% over current levels. Trains will run every 12 minutes during peak and reverse-peak times and every 20 minutes during middays, nights and weekends. All Brooklyn trains will make stops at Nostrand Avenue and East New York, service increases to those stations are even more pronounced than at Atlantic Terminal.

The LIRR will increase weekend service to Atlantic Terminal to 124 trains daily, up by 44 trains, or 55% over current levels. The weekend service improvement to 20-minute intervals is an improvement over today when the time between trains varies between 21 minutes and 39 minutes.

The West Hempstead Branch direct service is being extended to Atlantic Terminal during all times of day and all days. During peak periods, direct service will also continue to serve the Babylon Branch (to/from Freeport) and the Hempstead Branch.

Most Brooklyn trains will operate originate or terminate at Jamaica – increasing anticipated reliability by eliminating the potential for incidents or events from east of Jamaica to influence service to Brooklyn.

Enhanced Service for Local Event Venues

Customers will see more frequent reverse peak and off-peak service making it easier to attend events at Barclays Center. 

Elmont-UBS Arena is now a full-time station with all Huntington/Ronkonkoma trains stopping during normal game times even at non-event days and times. This means half hourly service to and from UBS Arena both, before and after games.

Riders traveling from the Hudson Valley can transfer from a Metro-North train directly to an LIRR train for service to Mets-Willets point for Mets games, Citi Field events and US Open tennis. With more peak trains making Woodside stops than today, transfer options are improved for those coming from Long Island.

Customers from the northern suburbs will now have more opportunities to take trains to events at Forest Hills Stadium with trains to Forest Hills departing from both NYC terminals.