Officials from the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) are noting that the proposed Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Expansion Project would reduce delays and improve reliability due to the interconnected nature of the LIRR’s 10 branches. The project will add a third track to the congested two-track Main Line in Nassau County and will also eliminate seven street-level train crossings in the project area.
“Because of the central position of this corridor and the interconnected nature of the system, having just two tracks on the Main Line causes delays throughout the entire LIRR system,” remarked Veronique Hakim, MTA interim executive director. “The region will never reach its full potential with a transit bottleneck like this in place – it’s just not sustainable and it must be fixed.”
LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski said, “Imagine trying to drink through a straw while pinching the middle of it with your fingers. That’s what’s happening with the severely bottlenecked Main Line, in which four tracks from one end and six tracks from the other all converge into one narrow two-track corridor.”
The LIRR Expansion Project proposes a third track built entirely within the existing LIRR right-of-way. The project also includes:
- The elimination of all seven grade crossings in the project corridor;
- Station upgrades including longer, full-length platforms;
- The installation of sound barrier walls to reduce noise; and
- The addition of more than 2,000 new parking spots in the project corridor.
The current two-track section of the LIRR Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville acts as a severely congested bottleneck. Track capacity also can be reduced temporarily by many incidents, including broken rail or track, disabled trains, signal or switch malfunctions, persons or objects blocking the tracks at crossings, and broken or malfunctioning crossing gates.
The LIRR Expansion Project, if approved, will reduce rail delays throughout all of Long Island, with the added track allowing trains to get around unavoidable incidents, and the grade crossing elimination component of the project completely eliminating the source of many train delays.