MTA project announcements and updates

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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The final leg of third track construction on the LIRR network will take place over the next two months.

The New York City region's Metropolitan Transit Authority has kicked off several projects recently in order to maintain their infrastructure in a state of good repair and to add some new service. Here are three of the rail projects the agency is working on.

MTA reconstructing the Archer Ave. J/Z track

Beginning at 9:45 p.m. on Friday, July 1, all J trains ended at 121 St, 24/7. No trains will operate between 121 St and Jamaica Ctr-Parsons/Archer.

MTA is doing this work because the track that J and Z trains use to travel between 121 St. and Jamaica Center is at the end of its useful life. This is a “direct fixation” track, which is fixed directly to the tunnel floor rather than on wood ties. Replacing this track will help make the commute more reliable.

MTA needs to dig out and completely replace the aging concrete and tracks from under Archer Ave. This project will replace 12,500 feet of track and third rail. 

This builds on the work MTA did in 2020 to replace more than 6,000 feet of track between Jamaica-Van Wyck and Jamaica Center on the E line. That work was completed in 10 weeks. The agency anticipates that work on the J Z  line will take the same amount of time, and completed by September 2022.

Reconstructing the D express track in the Bronx

Beginning Tuesday, July 5, D trains will operate only on the local track between 145 St. and Norwood-205 St. while the express track is closed for repairs. On weeknights and weekends, there will be partial D suspensions. The work will be ongoing through 2023. 

MTA is doing this work to restore the Concourse Line, where the D train runs, to a state of good repair. The track is 89 years old and is experiencing age-related deterioration of its steel and concrete. MTA will be fixing those issues and making other structural repairs to the subway tunnel, such as fixing leaks, replacing or repairing structural beams, and replacing drain pipes. It will also use the closure as an opportunity to upgrade the train power and radio communications systems. 

When MTA is done, customers will experience faster and more reliable rides on the express line. 

Introducing LIRR service to Grand Central

Long Island Rail Road service to Manhattan’s east side will soon become a reality. At the end of this year, LIRR trains will begin running to Grand Central Madison, a new train concourse below Grand Central Terminal. This will give LIRR two entry points to Manhattan’s Central Business District.

More LIRR trains will run during peak hours and there will be better reverse commuting options to Long Island. Two new tunnels between Manhattan and Queens will increase train capacity to and from New York City by 50% and improve reliability. 

This transformative rail service is the first expansion of LIRR service in more than a century. 

It is the culmination of several infrastructure projects — including the Main Line Expansion from Floral Park to Hicksville, and the Double Track Project from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma — that allow LIRR to run more trains and provide more reliable service. These projects have also added new stations and bridges on Long Island, eliminated grade crossings, and replaced old tracks and signals.

About Grand Central Madison

Customers taking LIRR to Grand Central Madison will arrive at a new 700,000-square-foot terminal, which runs alongside Madison Avenue from 43rd Street to 48th Street. This station will have space for retail and restaurants, spacious waiting areas, free Wi-Fi, and real-time departure information. 

MTA expects about 45% of LIRR passengers to use the new service to Grand Central, which will help reduce crowding at Penn Station. 

Grand Central Madison has four new entrances to Madison Avenue, as well as new entrances into the existing spaces of Grand Central and the passageways between 45th and 47th streets. The new terminal will have eight tracks and four platforms on two new levels below the existing lower level of Grand Central Terminal. Tracks are fully separate from Metro-North Railroad, ensuring that neither railroad causes delays to the other.

Map of Madison Concourse for LIRR Grand Central service

For more information about these and other MTA project, please visit the MTA website.

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