Full service has begun on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Grand Central Madison Station. The new schedules provide increased service levels by 41 percent and offer direct access to Midtown east, provide more frequent, reliable service, including in Queens and Brooklyn, and true reverse-peak service on the Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma Branches for the first time.
"Grand Central Madison is a public transportation feat that will shorten commutes, giving commuters time back in their busy lives to spend with their families, friends and communities," said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. "Grand Central Madison will dramatically expand service and operate more reliably for commuters and reduce overcrowding at Penn Station. Thanks to our continued partnership with Sen. Schumer and the New York Congressional delegation, we will continue building safe and efficient public transportation worthy of New Yorkers."
The new schedules add 271 Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) trains per day and increase LIRR systemwide service to 936 trains per day, of which 296 will be to or from Grand Central Madison. The Grand Central Madison project, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), follows two other significant LIRR capital projects:
- The Double Track Project, which installed a second track for 13 miles between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma
- The Third Track Project, which installed a 9.8-mile third track between Floral Park and Hicksville.
These once-in-a-generation investments alleviated certain capacity constraints, enabling the railroad to increase service and comprehensively rewrite the schedules for the first time in decades.
"Faster service and more trains will help bring the heart of New York City closer to Long Islanders and Queens residents, and the surge in reverse commuting will be a shot in the arm for Long Island employers looking to access a bigger talent pool. It's a win-win,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber.
"LIRR is thrilled to be offering more frequent service and more flexibility to our customers. Grand Central Madison also provides connectivity between LIRR and Metro-North for the first time, opening up a new era of regional rail travel for customers of both railroads,” said Interim President of the Long Island Rail Road and President of Metro-North Railroad Catherine Rinaldi.
With implementation of the new schedules, there will be more than 500 additional station stops in Brooklyn and Queens and during the peak period, an LIRR train into Penn Station or Grand Central every three to six minutes and service to Atlantic Terminal approximately every 12 minutes. Grand Central Madison is the first major new rail terminal to open in the United States in 67 years and the first extension of the LIRR in 112 years since service began to Penn Station in 1910.
The new schedules provide rush-hour through-service to Brooklyn from Freeport, Hempstead and West Hempstead. The MTA encourages all riders to consult the new schedules before traveling via the TrainTime app or MTA's website.
The Combo Ticket
The beginning of service now enables the possibility of transferring directly between the LIRR and Metro-North Railroad. To provide a seamless connection between the systems, the MTA has introduced the "Combo Ticket" - a single ticket that enables customers to travel between Long Island, Manhattan's northern suburbs and Connecticut all with one fare.
The Combo Ticket enables riders to buy a LIRR ticket in Huntington for a trip to White Plains or a Metro-North ticket in Poughkeepsie for a trip to Montauk. Riders choose their origin station with Grand Central as their destination and pay the regular fare plus a flat rate of $8 for a continuing trip to any destination on the other railroad.