Full Long Island Rail Road service to Grand Central Madison will begin Monday, the first time the railroad has offered regular rides to passengers arriving and leaving the East Side of Manhattan.
Prior to the new terminal’s opening, the only station where the LIRR stopped in Manhattan was Penn Station on the West Side at 34th Street. The new Manhattan destination from 43rd Street to 48th Street on Madison Avenue is the first built in over a century.
North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena echoed the impact and significance of the new terminal, which will bring riders from Long Island directly into Grand Central Station.
“Grand Central Madison represents a transformative project that is the culmination of many years of hard work,” DeSena said. “I thank interim LIRR President Cathy Rinaldi and MTA CEO Janno Lieber for prioritizing the needs of Long Island, and especially the residents of the Town of North Hempstead.”
The new terminal will bring changes to the LIRR schedule at all stations, effective Feb. 27.
With additional trains now running into Manhattan at all hours of the day and throughout the week, trains will be split between Grand Central Madison and Penn Station. Overall, fewer trains will be servicing Penn Station than before the new schedule.
Once full service begins on Feb. 27, Grand Central Madison will be closed from 2 a.m. to 5:30 a.m., routing all LIRR trains during that time to Penn Station.
The new terminal will be able to handle increased capacity from the LIRR’s North Shore train stations as a result of continued express service on the Port Washington line and more commuters from the agency’s 3rd Track Project.
After proposing changes to the Long Island Rail Road’s Port Washington branch that would have eliminated express service as part of the East Side Access project, transit officials said they abandoned plans to do so in October.
A total of 103 trains per day will be servicing the branch, 10 more than the current schedule has, officials said. On weekends a total of five more trains, 81 in total, will be operating along the branch.
The draft morning rush hour schedule includes 15 trains arriving in Manhattan between 6:16 a.m. and 9:51 a.m., a 36% increase from the current 11 that arrive at Penn Station between 6:21 a.m. and 9:34 a.m., according to officials.
The branch’s afternoon and evening rush hour schedule will also see a 43% increase in service, including three express trains. A total of 20 trains will leave Manhattan between 4:06 p.m. and 7:43 p.m., six more than the 14 trains that currently provided that service to commuters on the Port Washington branch, according to officials.
While Grand Central Madison is a step in the right direction in providing for the needs of commuters from Long Island, DeSena said that the work does not stop here.
“While I am hopeful that this increase in service will be a boon for our residents and businesses, I will continue to push for expanded express train service and station upgrades for residents on the Port Washington line, as the full benefits of Grand Central Madison can only truly be felt once increased service is offered to offset what was lost to accommodate this project,” DeSena said.