Port LIRR branch to restore full service after Labor Day

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Port LIRR branch to restore full service after Labor Day
The station for the Port Washington branch of the LIRR (Photo from the MTA)

The Long Island Railroad will be returning the Port Washington branch to full service next month, according to timetables posted on its website.

Since the middle of July, service on the route has been reduced so that work could be done on the Harold Interlocking railroad junction in Long Island City.

The work being done there is part of the East Side Access project, which will allow LIRR trains to access Grand Central Station.

Starting on Tuesday, Sept. 4 — the day after Labor Day — six additional trains will run on the branch, three eastbound and three westbound.

The three added eastbound trains from Penn Station to Port are the 8:21 a.m. train, which will make all stops on the line; the 4:22 p.m. train, which runs express until Great Neck and then makes all stops to Port; and the 7:01 p.m. train, which stops in Bayside, Great Neck, Manhasset, Plandome and Port.

The three added westbound trains are the 8:45 a.m. train, which makes local stops through Great Neck and then runs express to Penn; the 5 p.m. train, which makes all stops except Plandome and Murray Hill; and the 6:44 p.m. train, which originates out of Great Neck and stops at Little Neck, Douglaston, Bayside, Flushing, Woodside and Penn Station.

With these six new trains, one train that has been running during the past six weeks has been canceled: the 5:21 p.m. westbound local train from Great Neck.

To fit in the new trains, 12 trains had their departures times shifted by a couple of minutes.

For eastbound service, the 7:04 a.m. train from Penn will now leave at 7:01 a.m., the 9:20 a.m. train will leave at 9:19 a.m. and the 5:47 p.m. trail will now depart at 5:44 p.m.

The affected westbound trains are as follows: the 6:38 a.m. train from Port will now leave at 6:45 a.m., the 8:12 a.m. train from Port has been moved up to 8:08 a.m., the 8:26 a.m. train from Great Neck will depart at 8:24 a.m., the 8:40 a.m. train from Great Neck will leave at 8:38 a.m., the 9:38 a.m. train from Great Neck will leave at 9:32 a.m., the 5:49 p.m. train from Great Neck will leave at 5:44 p.m., the 6:20 p.m. train from Great Neck has been pushed back to 6:23 p.m., the 6:26 p.m. train from Port moved up to 6:24, and the 7:35 p.m. train from Port will depart at 7:39 p.m.

The complete schedule can be found on the LIRR website.

The East Side Access project will allow LIRR trains to reach Grand Central through a tunnel under the East River that will continue under 63rd St in Manhattan. According to the MTA, the project has been discussed since the 1950s. It has suffered numerous setbacks and a rising budget, currently set at over $10 billion. The MTA anticipates the tunnel to open in Dec. 2022.

The tunnel will split from the LIRR Main Line at the Harold Interlocking railroad junction. A train derailed at that spot earlier this month, causing several trains to be canceled or delayed on the Port Washington Line.

Reach reporter Luke Torrance by email at ltorrance@theislandnow.com, by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow him on Twitter @LukeATorrance.

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