Friday, March 30, 2012

LIRR East End DMU plan now funded

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MTA Long Island Rail Road long has had plans to provide diesel multiple-unit (DMU) service to its riders on both the North Fork and South Fork of the railroad's namesake territory. Those plans now have capital funding identified.

A New York State budget agreement hammered out earlier this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders includes $37.2 million to purchase DMUs for both the Montauk Branch (South Fork) and Greenport Branch (North Fork), both in Suffolk County, according to state Assemblyman Fred Theile, who represents the area.

LIRR currently runs limited service using aging conventional coaches powered by diesel locomotives over the outlying portions of each branch. The service often has been criticized for its relatively high cost-per-passenger and per-passenger-mile, as well as for its lack of frequency. DMU operations could allow LIRR to offer more frequency both for weekday rush hours and during weekends, particularly summer weekends when Long Island beaches on either fork are a draw.

MTA's website at present only acknowledges LIRR's plan for "Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) Spec Development" as part of the agency's 2009-2014 Capital Program.