The much delayed full service Long Island Railroad at the new Grand Central Madison terminal will begin on Feb. 27, the MTA said.
MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said that 271 LIRR trains per day will use the terminal which is below the original Grand Central Terminal, increasing LIRR systemwide service to 936 trains per day, of which 296 will be to or from Grand Central Madison.
He claims service levels will increase 41% over today’s schedules of 665 daily trains and create reverse-peak service on the Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma Branches for the first time.
“Faster, more convenient travel that brings Long Island closer to the heart of the City–the new schedules are going to be a major shot in the arm for the local economy and the effort to get people back to offices, theaters, and shopping,” Lieber said.
The East Side Access project had been talked about for decades and when it was finally begun, it was expected to cost just over $8 billion, but costs had more than tripled by the time limited service began at the end of January.
Even that opening had been delayed one month because of a last minute problem with a massive exhaust fan that forced the MTA to push back the full service opening originally scheduled for December.
Limited service between Jamaica station and the new terminal began on Jan. 27 with Governor Kathy Hochul among the riders on day one.
Full service is expected to carry 200,000 commuters per day. Up until now, the only place to disembark from the LIRR in Manhattan was at Penn Station, the busiest commuter railroad hub in the country that has long been derided as the worst rail commuter terminal in the country.
But the MTA is touting the terminal as the dawn of a new era.
“This is the biggest service increase in LIRR history,” said Catherine Rinaldi, Interim President of the Long Island Rail Road and President of Metro-North Railroad. “Long Islanders will benefit from a combination of Grand Central Madison service, the new LIRR Main Line third track and a second NYC terminal that links to the east side. The LIRR has created a new schedule with robust reverse commute service that links the entire region to Long Island’s homes, jobs, entertainment and education.”
Train schedules are available via the TrainTime app and at mta.info, where users can find pdf timetables or create point-to-point itineraries.
“This is the biggest service increase in LIRR history.” Catherine Rinaldi, Interim President of the Long Island Rail Road and President of Metro-North Railroad.