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Long Island Rail Road Publishes Draft Timetables Showing Service to Grand Central Madison, Offering Details on Largest Service Increase in LIRR History

Long Island Rail Road
Updated Jun 2, 2022 2:30 p.m.

Railroad Proposes to Add 274 Trains Per Weekday, Increasing Weekday Service 41% Systemwide

Rush Hour Service to Manhattan and Reverse-Peak Service to Long Island Would Both Enjoy Massive Gains

Train Frequency to Increase Dramatically, Especially on Main Line and in Brooklyn


The Long Island Rail Road today published 18 draft timetables showing proposed train schedules on all LIRR branches following the start of train service to Grand Central Madison later this year. The timetables are available at the MTA’s website at https://new.mta.info/grandcentralmadison.

The proposed timetables lay out details of the largest LIRR service expansion in history, in which the LIRR is proposing to add 274 trains per weekday, a 41% systemwide service increase, to 939 trains per weekday from the current 665.

“It is no exaggeration to say that there is no railroad or public transportation system in America that is getting bigger service increases than the LIRR will be getting in a few short months,” said Catherine Rinaldi, Interim President of MTA Long Island Rail Road and President of MTA Metro-North Railroad. “Constraints that have long put a ceiling on how much service the LIRR can operate are falling away as we bring online two long-awaited megaprojects: the opening of LIRR service to Grand Central Madison, and LIRR Main Line Third Track.”

Peak-Direction Increases

Under the new timetables, the railroad proposes to add 44 morning rush hour peak-direction trains to Manhattan, increasing service by 58%, to 120 trains from the current 76. Total morning rush hour peak-direction service, including all trains beyond those that serve Manhattan, would increase by 40%, to 159 trains from the current 114.
The railroad proposes to add 60 afternoon peak-direction rush hour trains, increasing service by 62%, to 158 trains from the current 98. Even Penn Station is gaining three LIRR trains in the afternoon rush, rising to 66 trains from the current 63.

Reverse-Peak Increases

Reverse commuting from New York City to Long Island becomes a realistic alternative on the Main Line for the first time under the proposed schedules. The LIRR is proposing to add 53 reverse-peak trains per weekday, or an increase of 65%, to 134 trains per weekday, from the current 81, with the biggest improvements coming to the Main Line branches. 

On the Ronkonkoma Branch for example, reverse peak service gaps of 93 minutes in the morning and 76 minutes in the evening are eliminated with trains departing approximately every 30 minutes between Ronkonkoma and Manhattan. As shown in the charts below, the new timetables propose to eliminate that gap by providing reverse-peak trains roughly every 30 minutes.

Morning rush:

Depart Manhattan . . . Arrive Ronkonkoma [Gap from prior train]
6:07 a.m. (Penn Station) . . . 7:26 a.m.
7:37 a.m. (Penn Station) . . . 8:59 a.m. [1 hour, 33 minutes]

Depart Manhattan . . . Arrive Ronkonkoma [Gap from prior train]
6:00 a.m. (Grand Central) . . . 7:21 a.m.
6:35 a.m. (Penn Station) . . . 7:56 a.m. [35 minutes]
7:01 a.m. (Grand Central) . . . 8:22 a.m. [26 minutes]
7:25 a.m. (Penn Station) . . . 8:46 a.m. [24 minutes]
7:58 a.m. (Grand Central) . . . 9:20 a.m. [34 minutes]

Afternoon/Evening Rush

Depart Ronkonkoma . . . Arrive Manhattan [Gap from prior train]
4:44 p.m. . . . 6:06 p.m. (Penn Station)
5:57 p.m. . . . 7:22 p.m. (Penn Station) [1 hour, 16 minutes]

Depart Ronkonkoma . . . Arrive Manhattan [Gap from prior train]
4:30 p.m. . . . 5:48 p.m. (Penn Station)
4:57 p.m. . . . 6:16 p.m. (Penn Station) [28 minutes]
5:28 p.m. . . . 6:47 p.m. (Penn Station) [31 minutes]
5:55 p.m. . . . 7:13 p.m. (Grand Central) [26 minutes]
6:26 p.m. . . . 7:44 p.m. (Penn Station) [31 minutes]

An even bigger morning rush hour gap from Manhattan to Huntington, the two hours between 5:47 a.m. and 7:47 a.m., would be eliminated with six trains departing Penn Station or Grand Central between 5:45 a.m. and 8:08 a.m.  In the afternoon/evening rush hour, five trains from Huntington would arrive in Manhattan between 5:57 p.m. and 7:52 p.m., eliminating the existing gap of 73 minutes between the arrivals of trains at Penn Station at 6:21 p.m. and 7:34 p.m. Reverse peak gaps on other branches are reduced as well.

Significant Main Line Service Frequency Increases 

The Main Line corridor, as measured at Mineola, Hicksville, Ronkonkoma or Huntington, will all see service frequencies effectively doubling during off-peak periods. Rush hour train frequencies between Jamaica and Manhattan will roughly equate to midday service on the Lexington Avenue Subway, the busiest subway line in North America.

Train frequencies in Brooklyn are also increasing, with five trains per hour during the peak periods (a train roughly every 12 minutes) and three trains per hour during off-peak periods (a train every 20 minutes).

Next Steps

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

  • Thursday, June 23 – 6-7 p.m.    
  • Thursday, June 30 – 6-7 p.m.    
  • Thursday, July 7 – 6-7 p.m.  

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. 

More information about the information sessions and the virtual public meeting will be posted to https://new.mta.info/grandcentralmadison