Friday, August 23, 2013

LIRR eyes weekend service upgrades

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MTA Long Island Rail Road says it will hold a public hearing Aug. 27 on a proposal to restore half-hourly service on its Port Washington Branch on weekends, as well as on a proposal to operate weekend service on the Ronkonkoma Branch between Ronkonkoma and Greenport for approximately 10 additional weekends each year. 

The public hearing will occur at 5 p.m. at MTA Headquarters, 347 Madison Ave. Manhattan, in the Board Room on the 5th floor. Registration in person is available beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Under the proposal, LIRR would restore 32 weekend trains on the Port Washington Branch to provide half-hour service, effective with the November 11 schedule. Currently, trains operate hourly on the weekend. The Branch serves northeastern Queens and northern Nassau County.

As for the Ronkonkoma Branch, which traverses the middle of Long Island, the LIRR would extend weekend service to and from Greenport, on the island's North Fork, by approximately 10 weeks, providing service starting in April and extending into November of each year. Currently, weekend Greenport service runs from Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day Weekend, largely serving summer weekend and vacation travelers.

The Ronkonkoma Branch east of its namesake municipality, running roughly 36 miles, is served by diesel-hauled trains at far less frequent intervals than west of Ronkonkoma, on single track right-of-way with some sidings. Tentative proposals have been made to serve the branch with diesel multiple-unit (DMU) consists of one or two cars, but no orders have resulted.