Get Ready for LIRR Delays and Cancellations Over the Weekend

By Greg Cergol
|  Friday, Oct 22, 2010  |  Updated 7:22 AM EDT
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Get Ready for LIRR Delays and Cancellations Over the Weekend

All aboard... for delays.

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It was only Thursday afternoon but already Marilyn Stacks, of Jamaica, Queens, was worried about her weekend train ride to work on the LIRR.

"From what I heard it's going to be limited service and that's going to be rough, very rough," said Stacks, a home health care aide.

Posters around Jamaica Station confirmed Stacks' concerns. LIRR service this weekend and next will be "extremely limited," due to a major railroad improvement project.

The LIRR is replacing its nearly century old switching and signal system in Jamaica with a state of the art computerized one.

But with progress into the future will come headaches in the present for weekend commuters.

"Plan in advance and know before you go," advised LIRR president Helena Williams. "Your trip could take up to an additional seventy minutes."

The LIRR has recommended only essential business travel the next two weekends. Only three trains an hour will run through Jamaica.

There will be no train service between Brooklyn and Jamaica and some Long Island commuters will need to ride a train, bus and subway just to get to Penn Station.

As riders braced for the inconvenience, many said the system upgrade will make the railroad better.

"It will increase safety and efficiency and that's just what we need," said Rick, a LIRR rider.

Three LIRR branches will run limited service to Penn Station- the Port Washington, Babylon and Long Beach lines.

The Oyster Bay and Huntington lines will require riders to board buses at Mineola, then switch to the E subway line in Jamaica.  NYC Transit will honor LIRR tickets on the subway during these weekends.

For more information, go to the LIRR website at www.mta.info/lirr

The service cuts could prove most inconvenient for runners and spectators heading to the NYC Marathon November 7th. 

Accommodations are being made to help get competitors from Long Island to the race, said Jeff Decker of the NY Road Runners Club.  Spectators, however, will have to fend for themselves.

When asked why the work was scheduled for Marathon weekend, the LIRR's president said she had no choice and explained that the ridership increase is only "nominal" on race day.

"It's actually not a significant event for us," said railroad president Williams.

But the head of the Greater Long Island Running club has criticized the LIRR's decision.

"There's no foresight in this," said club president Mike Polansky.  "It makes no sense."

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