News & Reviews News Wire Final segment of LIRR Third Track project opens

Final segment of LIRR Third Track project opens

By Trains Staff | October 4, 2022

| Last updated on February 16, 2024

Capacity expansion work completed on time, under budget, MTA says

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A Long Island Rail Road train arrives in Westbury, N.Y. The LIRR marked completion of its Third Track project with ceremonies in Westbury on Monday. Marc A. Hermann/MTA

WESTBURY, N.Y. — The Long Island Rail Road opened the third and final segment of its Third Track project on Monday, completing the capacity expansion on 9.8 miles of its main line between Floral Park and Hicksville, N.Y.

In a press conference in Westbury following a ceremonial ride from Hicksville with officials including Gov. Kathy Hochul, Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Janno Lieber touted the project as having been completed on time and $100 million under its $2.6 billion budget, “thanks to design-build contracting and many other new and innovative project management strategies. … It shows that the MTA can deliver on its promise to bring megaprojects faster, better and cheaper.”

Completion of the triple-track segment of main line, four years after work began, sets the stage for a 41% increase in LIRR service later this year when the commuter railroad begins its East Side Access service to Grand Central Madison, the new station concourse below Grand Central Terminal.

“The completion of the historic Third Track project connects commuters with a more resilient and flexible railroad with frequent service, modern stations, ADA accessibility, and more travel opportunities for Long Islanders and vistors,” Hochul said in a press release.

The new track is the southernmost of the three on the right-of-way and will be used for eastbound trains. Its first segment opened Aug. 15 between New Hyde Park and Merillon Avenue [see “News photos: Operations begin …,” Trains News Wire, Aug. 16, 2022], with the second, to Mineola, opening on Aug. 30 [see “Long Island Rail Road opens second section …,” News Wire, Aug. 31, 2022]. With all of the track in service, only minor station work remains to complete the project in its entirety.

Diagram showing location of new track and other elements of the Long Island Rail Road Third Track project
A schematic diagram shows features of the Long Island Rail Road’s 9.8-mile Third Track project. (MTA)

7 thoughts on “Final segment of LIRR Third Track project opens

  1. The real win is the institutional “muscle” the MTA has developed with these two big projects successes: East side Access and third track. These same engineers and project managers need to lead the new Hudson River tunnel. Other projects might include containerized freight on Long Island to get the trucks off the road, reduce grade crossings and full electrification. We have the momentum and the capability to dream big.

  2. So when did the Floral Park to Station to New Hyde Park section open? Part 1, Part 2 or 3.? Based on map seems like it would have been part 1 but text in all newswires stated that Western most point was New Hyde Park

  3. “On-time” and “under budget” are probably the rarest words you will ever hear from a transit project.

    1. Anybody remember the original segment of San Diego’s light rail?
      The San Ysidro/Tijuana trolley line. It was finished underbudget, ahead of schedule, and worst of all with no federal dollars involved!

    2. IAN — On-time, on budget, was likely the case for many transit projects way back then, but not all of them. In the 1960’s, the BART line through downtown Oakland ran into budget problems. While important, that wasn’t the entirety of the BART system.

      If there were budget overruns on other projects back in the day, I wasn’t aware of them. Projects like the Washington (D.C.) Metro or the since-deteriorated MBTA Red Line through Quincy and into Braintree.

    3. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) back in 2016 announced a $1.04 billion federal grant agreement with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to extend existing Blue Line Trolley service from downtown San Diego to the University City area. Is that project complete?

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