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MTA Long Island Rail Road is the best route for tennis fans heading to the US Open Tennis Championships and the Arthur Ashe Tennis Challenge at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium at Flushing Meadows. The train ride is just 16 minutes from Penn Station to the Stadium. For those traveling on the LIRR from Long Island, the US open is just six minutes from Woodside, 15 minutes from Great Neck and 25 minutes from Port Washington. Beginning Saturday, Aug. 26, for the Arthur Ashe Tennis Challenge, and continuing through Sunday, Sept. 10, the following LIRR trains will be making added stops at Shea Stadium Station, adjacent to the Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium, on the Port Washington Branch:

Weekdays through Sept. 8

* Eastbound trains department Penn Station at 8:21 a.m. and 8:50 a.m., then approximately every half hour from 9:19 a.m. through 1:19 a.m. the following morning.

* Westbound trains departing Port Washington approximately every half hour from 9:40 a.m. through 12:39 a.m. the following morning: and departing Great Neck at 8:58 a.m., 9:26 a.m., 5:43 p.m., 6:20 p.m. and 6:44 p.m.

Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day, Sept. 2, 3, 4, 9 and 10

* Eastbound Port Washington trains departing Penn Station hourly from 7:19 a.m. through 1:20 a.m. and trains to Great Neck hourly from 6:46 a.m. through 9:46 p.m.

* Westbound trains departing Port Washington hourly from 8:39 a.m. and 12:39 a.m. the following morning; then departing Great Neck hourly from 8:15 a.m. through 11:15 p.m.

Tennis buffs traveling from branches other than the Port Washington line can reach Shea Stadium by taking the LIRR to Woodside Station, then transferring to a Port Washington Branch train. Since Shea Stadium is situated in Fare Zone One, tickets to that zone from outlying stations are valid to Shea. However, passengers must hold onto their tickets stubs and inform ticket collectors of their intention to travel to Shea.

Customers should pick up a copy of the LIRR's special US Open timetable, dated Aug. 28-Sept. 10 at terminals and stations. For additional information, customers can contact the LIRR's 24-hour Travel Information Center, in Suffolk County at 631-231-LIRR in Nassau County at 822-LIRR, or in New York City at 718-217-LIRR. The Travel Information Center's TDD telephone number for the hearing impaired is 718-558-3022. Customers may also consult the LIRR's website at www.mta.nyc.ny.us/lirr.


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