MTA Long Island Rail Road

Starting July 29, Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express will extend north to serve Middlebury, Vergennes and Burlington, Vt. (Amtrak/Steve Ostrowski)

Transit Briefs: Amtrak, Stantec/HART, Metrolink, New York MTA, San Diego MTS/NCTD

The Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) has reported that Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express will begin service to Burlington, Vt., next month. Also, Stantec has landed a contract extension for work on Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s (HART) light rail project; Southern California’s Metrolink is rolling out the next phase of its Earthquake Early Warning System; New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has launched an online trip planner for riders considering new Grand Central Madison commutes; and a new San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and North County Transit District (NCTD) program will offer free transit passes for young adults transitioning out of foster care.

Eight 7000-series trains have resumed service at WMATA and are running on the Green and Yellow lines. (WMATA 7000-Series Rapid Transit Cars: Courtesy Wikipedia )

Transit Briefs: LIRR, Metra, WMATA

MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has completed New Hyde Park (N.Y.) station upgrades and removed three grade crossings as part of its $2.5 billion Third Track Project. Also, Chicago’s Metra is seeking rider feedback as it develops a new five-year strategic plan; and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) on June 16 returned to service eight 7000-series trains.

MTA Long Island Rail Road has published draft timetables showing service to Grand Central Madison and offering details on what it calls the “largest LIRR service expansion in history.”

LIRR Details ‘Historic’ Service Expansion

Riders of MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) could see weekday service increase 41% system-wide when Grand Central Madison terminal opens later this year, giving the commuter railroad two entry points to Manhattan’s Central Business District.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (center) is joined by MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber and Metro-North President/LIRR interim President Catherine Rinaldi at Grand Central Terminal on May 31, 2022 to announce the branding of “Grand Central Madison.” The major capital construction project, previously known as “East Side Access,” brings LIRR service to Grand Central with a new concourse extending west toward Madison Avenue. (Photograph and Caption Courtesy of Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Kathy Hochul.)

‘Grand Central Madison’ Nearing Completion

MTA Long Island Rail Road’s (LIRR) $11.1 billion project to bring commuter rail service to Manhattan’s East Side is on track to start later this year. Riders will travel to a new 700,000 square-foot LIRR terminal, which is nearing completion and now called Grand Central Madison, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and MTA officials announced on May 31.

New York MTA late last year launched a Track Trespassing Task Force to study ways to reduce track intrusions, which increased by 20% between 2019 and 2021 across its subway and commuter rail systems, resulting in 68 fatalities in 2021.

New York MTA Tackling Track Intrusion

Platform screen doors and track intrusion detection technology will be pilot tested on New York City subways as part of a multi-pronged safety initiative that was announced at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Feb. 24 Board meeting.

Catherine Rinaldi, President of MTA Metro-North Railroad, will take on the concurrent role of interim President of MTA Long Island Rail Road on Feb. 26.

MNR’s Rinaldi to Also Lead LIRR

MTA Long Island Rail Road President Phillip Eng will retire and hand the throttle to Catherine Rinaldi on Feb. 26; Rinaldi will serve in an interim capacity while continuing as MTA Metro-North Railroad President, a role she’s held since 2018.

“Bringing riders back to mass transit depends on three variables—reliability, safety and price,” MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said. “We’ve made it a priority to get creative on fares. Transit affordability is also an equity issue, and we are committed to providing a wide range of new discounts, while ensuring the MTA maintains a solid bottom line.”

New York MTA ‘Getting Creative’ on Fares

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) later this month will launch a four-month pilot fare program to encourage riders to use the city’s subways, buses and trains; it includes fare-capping.

LIRR’s 2021 record on-time performance of 96.3% represents a 5.5 percentage point improvement over 2018’s rate of 90.4%.

Transit Briefs: LIRR, Sacramento RTD, TTC, VIA Rail

The 2021 on-time performance of MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in New York has surpassed the previous record set in 2020. Also, this summer, Sacramento (Calif.) Regional Transit District (RTD) will start Gold Line light rail improvements; Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has partnered with Magnusmode on a new rider app; and VIA Rail Canada has selected Icomera to deploy Wi-Fi and an onboard digital platform for riders on its new trainsets.