Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

njtmnrrbuff wrote: Sat Oct 30, 2021 4:19 pm Even if track capacity improvements ever come to the Pt. Jefferson Line east of Huntington and LIRR orders those single level diesel hauled coaches plus runs battery powered MUs, you probably won't see many trains added to Grand Central Terminal from the Pt. Jefferson Line. Sadly much of the ridership needs are west of Huntington-that's how it goes and that's how it's been. People living east of Huntington along the Pt. Jefferson Line will probably drive to Huntington to get a train not only to Grand Central but to Penn Station.

Yes, the plan for Sunnyside Station would be to put the facility west of the part of Harold where the right of way to Grand Central will branch off. I think in general, after Eastside Access opens up, passengers living east of Huntington who end up boarding trains along the diesel stretch of the Pt. Jefferson Line will be best off either transferring in Huntington or Jamaica(if express service from Pt. Jeff is offered).

I don't think the stretch of the Pt. Jefferson Line between Huntington and Pt. Jefferson goes through farm country. It's been years since I rode that stretch. I might do a trip out that way months from now. The farmland begins well east of Pt. Jefferson. It's more abundant along the Greenport Branch east of Riverhead and along the Montauk Line east of Westhampton.
Buff: I will reply to your post -

1-Former Port Jefferson Branch passengers that want faster one-seat ride service have been using Ronkonkoma,
Central Islip, Deer Park and Wyandanch Stations for many years now...The completion of the double track project
along with more frequent service has encouraged more rider "migration" between the two lines.

The Town of Huntington regulates parking and charges fees at the four LIRR stations within their jurisdiction.
They are Huntington, Cold Spring Harbor, Greenlawn and Northport. Many of these lots require a monthly
permit to use - and are much more expensive for those residing outside of the Town of Huntington. This
discourages those from further east on the PJ Branch from driving to Huntington Station to some extent.

2-The opening of East Side Access along with the completion of the Main Line Third Track is slated
to be about one year from now in the Fall of 2022 provided that there is no further delays to either
project. With the opening of both next year expect major changes to LIRR scheduling systemwide.

3-NYS Route 112 - which goes between Port Jefferson Harbor and Patchogue - was once the dividing
line between "suburbia" west and "semi-rural" (and "rural") eastward in the Town of Brookhaven.
NYS 112 passes directly by Medford Station on the Main Line to Greenport.

The eastern half of Brookhaven - and the five East End towns: Riverhead, Southold, Shelter Island,
Southampton and East Hampton - have more open (farm or other) land - and those five East End towns
are much smaller than the five "suburban" towns in western Suffolk County: Brookhaven, Smithtown,
Huntington, Babylon and Islip.

Over time Ronkonkoma Station - especially since completion of the Hicksville-Ronkonkoma Electrification
in January 1988 - has become the ultimate LIRR "magnet station" on Long Island attracting riders from all
directions because of service (on average hourly daily) and the sheer quantity of free parking available.
For that matter Ronkonkoma has the second highest ridership on the LIRR in Suffolk and Nassau Counties.
(Hicksville is #1)...MACTRAXX
  by njtmnrrbuff
You have a very good point about residents who live along the Pt. Jeff Line in diesel country driving down the road to those stations on the Ronkonkoma Line for faster and more direct service. The double track on the Main Line between Hicksville and Ronkonkoma really helps. Many people living along the Pt. Jefferson Line, especially in the towns where it's diesel territory, have cars and probably don't mind driving 5 or 6 miles down the road to the Ronkonkoma Line. It looks like the closest point that the Pt. Jefferson Line gets to the Ronkonkoma Line east of Hicksville is in Smithtown. I can certainly see many people living in Smithtown who live to Central Islip for more frequent and faster train service.

I doubt that many people who live outside of the Town of Huntington will drive to the train stations east of Huntington and even Huntington. I'm sure that communities like Rocky Point, Miller Place, and East Shorham come to mind. People living in those villages probably end up driving to Ronkonkoma anyway. The parking lot in Ronkonkoma is so big and is also meant for attracting people who live well north and east of there. People living along the Greenport Line don't want to have to deal with the slow speeds and very infrequent service so at least the ones who live in Medford and Yaphank will drive to Ronkonkoma. I could also see people from Riverhead doing the same thing. By the way, east of Ronkonkoma, it's a big surprise that the speed limit on the railroad is what it is. The tracks are straight and the speeds should be faster.

The end of 2022 is now supposed to be a great year for the LIRR as mentioned. Eastside Access and the Main Line Third Track project combined are two of the most critical projects. Once both projects are finished, it will be very interesting to see the changes that will be implemented to the service patterns on the railroad. I don't know the proposed breakdown of the percentage of trains per line will continue ending at Penn Station over which percentage will go to Grand Central. It's possible that the lines that have half hourly service during the off peak hours and on weekends could alternate between one train per hour serving Penn Station and the other one serving Grand Central. Lines that have more trains ending and starting their runs at Atlantic Terminal in BK will likely be permanently sent to Grand Central.
  by freightguy
I think the great Plandemic gave them a little breathing room. You probably needed 3(mainline) tracks even for service into Penn Station before March of 2020.

Funny thing everyone complains about being crammed into Penn Station. The ceilings are probably lower on the Madison Ave concourse of GCT than they are in NY Penn Station. The Governor was down there today.
  by photobug56
LIRR had plans years ago for a much better station. They cheaped out. There would have been 3 tracks, which would solve many problems. It's also possible that if Dermody had his way with east of Huntington storage yards that the station might have been reconfigured.
  by njtmnrrbuff
Three tracks separated by a center island platform at Huntington Station would have been fine-it would have just been a matter of walking across the platform to change from the electric to the diesel scoot. The storage yard east of Huntington would have been a big plus. If done at Ronkonkoma and Babylon, than why can’t it be done in Huntington?

Three tracks on the Main Line have been needed for decades. I can’t stress it enough. The reverse peak commuting market between the city and Jamaica to Mineola and Hicksville and other towns has always been strong. Having a two track railroad from Floral Park to Hicksville has really put a limit on the number of reverse peak trains the rr can run. If Eastside Access was done decades ago which it should have been, the third track on the Main Line would have been done a while ago as well.
  by kitchin
freightguy wrote: Sun Oct 31, 2021 4:52 pm Funny thing everyone complains about being crammed into Penn Station. The ceilings are probably lower on the Madison Ave concourse of GCT than they are in NY Penn Station. The Governor was down there today.
It's the platforms.
  by photobug56
While the idea of a center platform at Huntington was good, the yard setup was a disaster. You had to choose between people's back yards, areas where there would be huge environmental damage and the like. Plus the line from about Greenlawn to the yard would have had only one track. What riders wanted was to double track and electrify out to PJ. Expand that yard, but 99% electric (much less noise and pollution), provide much better service, have the needed storage. Maybe there was a compromise to be had, but no one proposed one. And once JD was gone, it was quite dead from what I could tell.
  by njtmnrrbuff
It’s been years since I have ridden the Pt. Jefferson Line but I can imagine how much opposition there would be to relocate Huntington Yard east of Huntington Depot. Even if that station had center island platforms but still had the yard where it presently is, it might not be a super headache. Look at Southeast, NY-the yard is south of the station. Huntington receives about the same level of service as Southeast NY on the Harlem Line.
  by photobug56
One of the proposals had a large yard north of Pulaski Road - now, I believe, the site of a major housing project. Maybe 100 to 200 feet from private homes. Another seemed impossible - a very deep gully which would have had to have been filled in, probably an environmental nightmare. The sites seemed to have been picked to create various levels of intense opposition, with the least worst winning out, whatever that would have been.

Most MTA public hearings and the like that I've been to, both out here, and when I was a member of a Manhattan Community Board, were well know for having few board members, let alone major MTA officials (Phil and Helena being exceptions), so I was not only surprised to see JD at one of these, but to have him sitting in the audience directly in front of my wife and me. I got into a conversation with him before the meeting began. What scared me, beyond the specifics of what he said, was that he didn't seem to be especially in touch with reality. As I remember him, he was more like a certain relative of mine, 88 and post stroke, is currently, except far more talkative. Though I think he's the one who told me that his LIRR career started out with him being a ticket clerk.
  by Kelly&Kelly
Decisions of this nature are and were made by the Governor's Office via the MTA. The president, in the instant case Jim Dermody, was permitted virtually no input in the decision process. In that sense, he was as much a spectator to the farce of "public hearing" as was you.
  by freightguy
We've kind off went off topic, but is the electrification of the central branch on hold now even with the 14 billion dollar federal injection? I know it was mentioned in the upcoming MTA capital plan, but that was pre-Covid.
  by photobug56
Kelly&Kelly wrote: Tue Nov 02, 2021 6:37 am Decisions of this nature are and were made by the Governor's Office via the MTA. The president, in the instant case Jim Dermody, was permitted virtually no input in the decision process. In that sense, he was as much a spectator to the farce of "public hearing" as was you.
Of course MTA (and likely the Governor) made the decision to not proceed. The public was heavily against this. But where do you think this started? And why did LIRR fight so hard for it?
  by Kelly&Kelly
The LIRR needed storage space on the east end of electrified territories for the AM commission hours. Most branches had this. The Huntington operation did not. Deadheading trains from New York for the morning commute was an age old problem, and the LIRR jumped at any opportunity to replace this with east end lay up yards.

The concept was created by Don Eislie and his Operations & Service Planning Department. The State was promising Transportation Bond issues ever five years or so. Thus a somewhat hasty "wish list" was created of capital improvements that could benefit the agency.

Naturally the LIRR will fight for any public funds it is offered, regardless of their assigned allocation. With any project funding comes a huge influx of discretionary money that can be put toward other general improvements, repairs and upgrades. Recall that era saw a LIRR that was virtually penniless, scratching nationwide for used materials just to make repairs.
  by photobug56
IMHO there was no viable way to create this storage East of Huntington the way they planned it. If they had double tracked (electrification is a given) all the way to the new yard and depending on where it was allowed electric passenger service to stations between the yard and Huntington there could have been a lot less opposition. Plus made sure that the yard would not affect homeowners.
  by Kelly&Kelly
That's why the proposal was defeated. While providing some improvements to service west of Huntington, other than offering easier transfer, the plan did nothing for the eastern part of the branch. Minimal ridership east of Huntington didn't justify further expenditure.