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MIDTOWN MANHATTAN (PIX11) – The Long Island Rail Road is proposing the largest expansion in train service in its history when the new Grand Central Madison terminal opens on Manhattan’s east side later this year.

The LIRR on Thursday released 18 draft timetables showing proposed train schedules to Grand Central Madison, the new 700,000-square-foot LIRR terminal nearing completion beneath Grand Central Terminal and Madison Avenue between 43rd Street to 48th Street.

View the draft timetables on the MTA website.

The opening of Grand Central Madison, along with the new third track on the LIRR Main Line sometime in 2022, will increase train service by more than 40% systemwide.

The proposed timetables would add 274 trains per weekday, going from 665 trains per day to 939. Train service during the morning rush hour to Manhattan and reverse-peak service to Long Island would both receive significant gains.

“It is no exaggeration to say that there is no railroad or public transportation system in America that is getting bigger service increases than the LIRR will be getting in a few short months,” said Catherine Rinaldi, interim president of MTA Long Island Rail Road and president of MTA Metro-North Railroad.

Peak-direction increases to Manhattan

Under the proposed timetables, the LIRR would add 44 morning rush hour peak trains to Manhattan, increasing service by 58%. The railroad proposes to add 60 afternoon peak-direction trains during rush hour, increasing service by 62%.

Total morning rush hour peak-direction service, including all trains beyond those that serve Manhattan, would increase by 40%.

Reverse-peak increases to Long Island

The LIRR is proposing to add 53 reverse-peak trains per weekday, an increase of 65%.

The increase in service would reduce gap times between some trains. For example, on the Ronkonkoma Branch, reverse peak service gaps of 93 minutes in the morning and 76 minutes in the evening would be cut down, with trains departing every 30 minutes between Ronkonkoma and Manhattan.

Reverse-peak gaps on other branches would be reduced as well.

“Constraints that have long put a ceiling on how much service the LIRR can operate are falling away as we bring online two long-awaited megaprojects: the opening of LIRR service to Grand Central Madison, and LIRR Main Line Third Track,” Rinaldi said.

The LIRR will be holding three virtual information sessions to offer presentations about the proposed timetables. Those will happen on the following dates:

  • Thursday, June 23 – 6-7 p.m.    
  • Thursday, June 30 – 6-7 p.m.    
  • Thursday, July 7 – 6-7 p.m.  

After these information sessions, the public will have the opportunity to offer comments on the timetables at a virtual public meeting. It will be held on Wednesday, July 13, from 6 to 8 p.m.

More information about the information sessions and the virtual public meeting will be posted on the MTA website.