Long Island Railroad Finishes Great Neck Pocket Track Extension

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Long Island Railroad, part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), has announced that work crews have completed an extension of track east of Great Neck that will ensure greater service reliability on the Port Washington Branch with the projected service increase associated with the opening of MTA's new Grand Central Madison station.

The segment of track underneath the recently replaced Colonial Road Bridge was extended 1,100 feet to enable the storage of an additional train of up to 12 cars, an upgrade from existing track in the area that already accommodated one train of up to 12 cars. This extension allows the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to store and turn more trains on the Port Washington Branch, and stage an additional train to operate extra service from Mets-Willets Pt.

“This infrastructure improvement enables the LIRR to run more trains more reliably on the Port Washington Branch,” said MTA Long Island Rail Road Interim President and Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi. “Completion of this work brings us one step closer to the launch of LIRR’s historic new service to Grand Central Madison, the largest service expansion in LIRR history.”

The track extension supports better rush hour service. Under the draft schedules that include service to Grand Central Madison, Port Washington Branch customers will specifically benefit from 36% more Morning Peak service and 42% more Evening Peak service. The number of local trains terminating or originating at Great Neck and making all local stops in or from Manhattan increases to 20 per weekday after the opening of Grand Central Madison, up from 11 today, an increase of 82%.

Although the opening of Grand Central Madison was not contingent upon completion of this project, it is part of the LIRR’s East Side Access Readiness Plan to enhance reliability of service that is commensurate with the increase of trains. The project was comprised of three main segments: replacement of the previous century-old bridge that carries Colonial Road over the Port Washington Branch in Great Neck, improvement of drainage at track level and the track extension.

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