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LIRR track work to disrupt SE Queens commuters

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The Hempstead, Port Washington,...

By Betsy Scheinbart

The rehabilitation of the Long Island Rail Road main track between Jamaica and Queens Village will affect some travelers from Monday, June 18, through Sunday, Aug. 26, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said.

The Hempstead, Port Washington, Port Jefferson and Oyster Bay branches will be affected by this construction.

The installation of concrete ties on all four main line tracks as well as AirTrain and Jamaica Station rehabilitation, the installation of a new signal between Jamaica and Flatbush Avenue and work on the Flatbush Avenue Terminal will all impact train service.

AirTrain is a $1.9 billion transportation system which will connect John F. Kennedy International Airport with 740 daily LIRR trains and the E, J, Z subway lines at Jamaica by the middle of 2003. Jamaica Station is currently undergoing a $316 million face-lift to accommodate the new train system.

The Main Line Track Rehabilitation Program involves replacing 29 miles of continuous welded rail with 36,000 steel-reinforced concrete ties on the four main tracks between Jamaica and Queens Village.

More than 75,000 of these ties were installed over the past three summers on sections of track between Jamaica and the East River tunnels and on the Port Washington Branch.

“Concrete ties and new track are key components in keeping the LIRR’s infrastructure in good condition insuring a safe, comfortable ride for its customers,” said MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow.

The rehabilitation work will require the cancellation/combination of three morning peak and three afternoon peak trains on the Hempstead and Port Jefferson Branches and substitute bus service for Hollis and Queens Village customers for off-peak and sometimes for peak times.

“Taking into account the tremendous amount of work that will take place during not only the Main Line Track Program but also the other projects, every effort will be made to minimize inconvenience to our customers,” said LIRR President Ken Bauer.

The LIRR will use a Track Laying Machine for portions of the program. This 1,150-foot-long vehicle rides atop the tracks, installing ties and rails as it goes and allowing the LIRR to triple productivity achieved by other methods.

The following are key elements of the temporary schedule changes affecting Queens travelers for the period of June 18 through Aug. 26.

•Hempstead Branch:

The 7:36 a.m. Hempstead to Flatbush train and the 8:45 a.m. Hempstead to Flatbush Avenue will be canceled and the 8:03 a.m. train from Hempstead to Penn Station will have an added stop at Jamaica to accommodate customers wishing to travel to Flatbush Avenue. In the evening, the 5:19 p.m. train from Flatbush Avenue to Hempstead will be canceled.

•Port Jefferson Branch:

The 5:57 a.m. train from Port Jefferson to Hunterspoint Avenue combines with the 6:49 a.m. train from Huntington to Hunterspoint Avenue to depart Port Jefferson at 6 a.m. and arrive at Hunterspoint Avenue at 7:49 a.m.. A connecting train at Jamaica will get customers to Penn Station at 7:52 a.m.

The 4:31 p.m. train from Penn Station to Huntington and the 4:35 p.m. train from Flatbush Avenue to Huntington will be combined to depart Penn Station at 4:32 p.m. The 5:11 p.m. train from Hunterspoint Avenue to Port Jefferson will originate at Huntington.

•Port Washington Branch:

The 10:40 a.m. train from Port Washington train to Penn Station will not operate between Port Washington and Great Neck. The 1:49 p.m. train from Penn Station will terminate at Great Neck.

•Queens Village and Hollis Service Impacts:

Train service will be provided to Queens Village and Hollis during a.m. and p.m. peak periods except when the track immediately adjacent to the station platform is out of service for installation of concrete ties.

During two-week periods of construction, customers will be provided with substitute bus service.

The LIRR will be performing work on the staircases at both Hollis and Queens Village when the platforms are closed.

For more information, call 718-217-LIRR, 718-558-3022 or visit www.mta.ny.ny.us.

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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