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LIRR Returns Local Off-Peak Half-Hourly Service

Port Washington branch service restored May 14 as budget gap closes

When the new MTA Long Island Rail Road timetables take effect on Monday, May 14, Great Neck commuters can rejoice in the fact that the new schedules include the restoration of the off-peak half-hourly service on the Port Washington branch. The new schedules include the restoration of half-hourly, midday service on the Port Washington Branch on weekdays, as well as adjustments to schedules or midday busing in place of trains on various branches to support the summer track construction work.  

Since September 2010, when the Port branch cuts were made, train riders have bitterly complained about the lack of service and the real problem when they miss a train by just minutes and then must wait a full hour for another train. The Port Washington branch is the LIRR branch that services Great Neck.

MTA spokesperson Sam Zambuto told the Great Neck Record that the train service was restored, “as promised,” when funds became available. He said that the 2010 cuts were made “to help fill the MTA’s $800 million budget gap.” Mr. Zambuto said that the Long Island Rail Road had monitored the finances and the “ridership” numbers all along and were now able to make the changes. “The ridership is up a lot,” he said.

Mr. Zambuto explained that when the cuts were made the LIRR had “assumed” that Port branch train customers would shift to adjacent trains, but this never happened. Instead, Mr. Zambuto said that the cuts actually resulted in a loss of over 180,000 rides annually. And so now the Port Washington branch, half-hourly midday service will be restored on weekdays in the period between the morning and evening rush hours, “in an effort to attract customers back to the LIRR.”

Mr. Zambuto added that no additional train crew cost is necessary to implement this service restoration. “The anticipated revenue from the expected increased ridership to be generated will offset any other costs,” he said.

Specifically, for eastbound trains, the seven restored eastbound trains will leave Penn Station at 19 after the hour, from 9:19 a.m. through 3:18 p.m.  These are in addition to the eastbound trains at 49 after the hour, which remain unchanged.

For westbound service, the seven restored westbound trains will leave Port Washington at 40 after the hour, from 9:40 a.m. through 3:40 p.m.  These are in addition to the westbound trains at 10 after the hour, which remain unchanged.

Mr. Zambuto said that the MTA/LIRR makes schedule changes several times a year. There are additional changes in many of the branches come May 14, as well as upcoming changes to accommodate work on the new East Side access and tunnel construction within the Harold Interlocking in Queens.

For More Information

Customers can pick up a copy of the new timetable, two weeks in advance of the May 14 start date, at the LIRR’s major terminals and at local stations. Customers can also consult the LIRR Schedules and Fares page on the LIRR website at Customers can also call 511, the New York State Travel Information Line and say the prompt “Long Island Rail Road.” Anyone who is deaf or hard of hearing, can use preferred relay service provider on the free 711 relay to reach the LIRR at 511.

For the most up-to-date information on train service, customers can sign up for LIRR E-alerts and text messages at Project and service information will also be available on the LIRR’s Facebook page at and on twitter at LIRRScoop.