The LIRR’s Elmont-UBS Arena station will now offer two-way service for all events through select trains on the Huntington and Ronkonkoma branches, acting interim LIRR President Catherine Rinaldi said Thursday.
For the time being, that service will be limited to event days. By the end of the year, the station will provide full-time service.
Westbound began with last Wednesday night’s Islanders’ preseason game. It will also be available for the team’s regular season opening night Oct. 13.
“You have a one-seat ride to watch the Islanders beat the Panthers,” Rinaldi said at a press conference alongside other officials, “saving time and reducing congestion around the arena.”
When there are events, all eastbound Hempstead Branch trains, as well as select trains in both directions on the Huntington and Ronkonkoma Branches, will add stops at Elmont-UBS Arena. Westbound Hempstead Branch trains will also stop at the station on event days beginning Oct. 31.
The station will eventually provide year-round service. But for the time being, it will only be accessible for events held at the arena. Later this year when Grand Central Madison, a commuter rail terminal, opens, the transfer to full-time will occur.
Rinaldi did not comment on future schedule modifications after the station introduces full-time service. Other officials shared a similar excitement about the announcement.
“The idea of investing in public goods,” Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado said, “like public transportation and making access points to opportunity, to enjoyment, to services, to pleasure across the board for everybody is critically important for our administration.”
Elmont-UBS Arena is the LIRR’s first new station since 1976. The station, which serves the Main Line, was first announced by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in July 2019. On Nov. 20, 2021, the eastbound platform opened.
The project cost approximately $105 million. The arena’s developer contributed $97 million, with the state covering the rest.
John Ledecky, the Islanders’ co-owner, said that the opening is a game-changer for non-Long Islanders.
“It’s been a pain point sometimes for them to get out here,” he said. “But now they have the ability to go from either Penn Station or Grand Central Madison station in 30 minutes directly to the game. Thirty minutes. Think about that in terms of what game-changer that means for this arena, for our county, the City of New York.”
Ledecky also thanked elected officials and fans for their support.
“Thank you for believing in the New York Islanders. Thank you for believing in us,” he said. “And to the greatest fans in the National Hockey League: you’re the most loyal in all sports. This two-way train station service is for you.”