What you should know
- The Long Island Rail Road began rerouting several of the Grand Central Madison trains to NY Penn Station to better accommodate ridership and reduce overcrowding.
- The MTA is also adding multiple stops. Trains currently departing from Brentwood have additional stops at Central Islip and Ronkonkoma.
- The start of full service at Grand Central Madison proved chaotic with overcrowding and confusion – prompting the LIRR to introduce a series of schedule changes last Monday.
Monday is the day the Long Island Rail Road began rerouting several of the Grand Central Madison trains to NY Penn Station to better accommodate ridership and reduce overcrowding.
The MTA said these changes are in addition to those previously announced, including the addition of two or more cars to 30 of the most crowded rush hour trains. In addition, staff are now also managing the departures of shuttle trains from the platforms, making passengers more likely to transfer.
According to the MTA, the updated Monday changes include:
The 5:28pm train from Grand Central to Babylon now departs from Penn Station.
- The 7:31 am Grand Central to Hempstead train now departs from Penn Station.
Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Woodside
The MTA announced that it is changing which trains stop at Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Woodside stations during rush hour. to provide dispatchers with more flexibility, reliability and less congestion when routing trains between Manhattan and Jamaica.
Long Beach branch
- The 7:54 train from Long Beach now goes to Penn Station instead of Grand Central.
- The 4:37pm train from Penn Station to Wantagh no longer stops at Lynbrook. Lynbrook customers can take the 4:31 p.m. Long Beach train from Penn Station.
Oyster Bay branch
The 4:56 train from Oyster Bay no longer stops in Mineola.
Port Jefferson Branch
A new early morning eastbound train will depart Jamaica at 4:40am and call at Mineola, Hicksville, Syosset, Cold Spring Harbor and Huntington.
- Four morning and four evening peak hours operating only to Brentwood will be extended to serve Central Islip and Ronkonkoma, giving passengers more options at some of our busiest stations.
- The 5:30 train from Ronkonkoma no longer stops in Mineola.
- The 5:42 train from Ronkonkoma now goes to Penn Station instead of Grand Central.
- The 6:53 a.m. train from Ronkonkoma departs three minutes earlier and adds stops at Deer Park and Wyandanch. The 5:24 am train from Greenport also departs three minutes early to connect with this train.
“We immediately noticed a couple of red flags. The trains to Penn experienced overcrowding caused by an unexpectedly high ridership as people adjust to the new schedule and frequency of Atlantic Shuttle services to Brooklyn,” Catherine, interim president of LIRR told Rinaldi on Thursday when he announced some changes that would take place on Monday.
“News for Monday, we will be moving some trains from GCM to Penn Station and adding some stops to trains currently originating from Brentwood,” Rinaldi continued.
Some of the changes Rinaldi revealed were:
- Train 2013, currently the 5:42 a.m. train from Ronkonkoma to Grand Central Madison, departs Monday for NY Penn Station and arrives at 6:55 a.m
- Train 268, the 5:28 p.m. train from Grand Central Madison to Babylon, now departs at 5:28 p.m. Penn Station instead of Grand Central Madison
- Train 714, the 7:31 a.m. train to Hempstead, will depart from NY Penn Station instead of Grand Central Madison starting Monday.
The MTA is also adding multiple stops. Trains currently departing from Brentwood have additional stops at Central Islip and Ronkonkoma.
- The 5:16 train from Brentwood to NY Penn Station will now have Central Islip and Ronkonkoma stops added.
- The 5:48 Brentwood to NY Penn Station train will now have Central Islip and Ronkonkoma stops added.
- The 6:03 a.m. Brentwood train and the 7:57 a.m. Brentwood to NY Penn Station train also stop at Central Islip and Ronkonkoma starting Monday.
“The purpose of this is to facilitate some of the transfers that we are seeing in Jamaica, to provide more service opportunities in Grand Islip and Ronkonkoma, to share some customer loads and in response to some of our customer inquiries that we have received over the week and a half,” said Rinadli.
The start of full service at Grand Central Madison proved chaotic with overcrowding and confusion – prompting the LIRR to introduce a series of schedule changes last Monday.
The Long Island Rail Road introduced a series of schedule changes earlier this month intended to address the congestion and confusion that dominated the first week of operations at the new and long-awaited Grand Central Madison station.
The station has been touted as an antidote to these scourges, and yet many LIRR riders say the very infrastructure designed to help them has made their rides more chaotic.
Acknowledging the bumpy first week, the railroad said there will be some growing pains around the opening of the $11 billion station — and the historic expansion of rail lines to Grand Central Terminal.
In particular, LIRR and Metro-North President Cathy Rinaldi blamed the overcrowding on new schedules that shortened trains to Penn Station and Brooklyn. Rinaldi admitted her team had reduced the number of carriages on certain trains based on data analysis. Transit officials thought many of these people would want to go to Grand Central instead.
The first changes of March 3rd should quickly adjust to the reality of commuting. Gov. Kathy Hochul also directed the MTA to change the service to improve the commuter experience. She wants more rush hours to Brooklyn, more cars on trains serving Penn Station to reduce overcrowding — and more cars on all trains, which exceeded capacity last week.
The Democratic governor also called for improved communications and a richer customer service experience at the train station in Jamaica, where passengers described an epic nightmare – one involving three platform changes and people racing up and down escalators to get where they needed to be.
Hochul also ordered the MTA to monitor the situation in real time to see if other schedule changes might be needed. Rinaldi says that has always been the plan. She said the data shows LIRR drivers saved a total of 38,051 commute hours on the East Side compared to travel time using Penn Station during last week’s peak hours, despite the initial headache, and the agency is increasing capacity and ridership evaluate in the future.
“We had said that we look at every train and every line to assess where customers are not receiving the level of service that they and we expect,” Rinaldi said previously. “These changes are steps to ensure a better experience going forward while offering more total services to more terminals across NYC than LIRR has ever done before.” We will continue to monitor passenger numbers and loading conditions and make adjustments as necessary.”
Although there were some signs of improvement this week due to the changes, there were still many describing crowded trains, longer journey times and more train changes. Brooklyn shuttle trains were held ready to transfer passengers. But despite more trains, more carriages and customer service agents patrolling platforms, there was still plenty of room for improvement, drivers said.
The head of the LIRR Commuters’ Council said things were a little smoother after initial changes, but added that it was obvious the train timetables needed to be revised again.
To see all changes, be sure to visit the MTA website at https://new.mta.info/.