Extremely Limited LIRR Train Service this Weekend (November 6-7) during final cutover to new system at Jamaica

NYC Marathon Attendees advised to use Babylon, Long Beach or Port Washington Branches for direct service to Penn Station. The Port Washington branch will operate extra trains in the AM and PM

LIRR Modernization Project Brings New Technology to Centralized Signaling and Switch Control at Jamaica

The Long Island Rail Road will be completing installation of a state-of-the-art centralized signal and switching control system at Jamaica this weekend (November 6-7) in the final stage of a major modernization project. The Jamaica Modernization Project will result in significant service changes for all LIRR branches, except the Port Washington branch this weekend.

The new signal system upgrade will bring computerized microprocessor technology to Jamaica's critical switching area and centralizes the switching and signal control from three existing signal towers at Jamaica - including Hall Tower where the switching board was damaged by a major fire that disrupted service in August.

A clean up of debris along the tracks in the area of the Jamaica station will also continue this weekend. 

Impact on LIRR Service

During the cutover to the new system this weekend, there will be extremely limited LIRR service, especially between Jamaica Station and Penn Station. The LIRR recommends the use of LIRR trains for essential business travel only. Buses and subway service will replace LIRR trains on most branches. Many customers will need to take the "E" subway line service between Jamaica and Penn Station. On November 7, NYC Marathon runners and spectators are advised to use Babylon, Long Beach or Port Washington Branches for direct service to and from Penn Station.

The significant adjustments to LIRR service during this cutover weekend are required because train movement through Jamaica Station is being limited to two tracks (one track east and one track west) while the work is underway. Additionally, routes will be limited through Jamaica resulting in the ability to move three trains per hour in each direction from the south shore only. Normally, the LIRR operates 2 to 3 times more weekend trains through Jamaica from 10 of its 11 branches. Because of the route restrictions, trains will also bypass some LIRR stations.

The key customer travel info for the November 6-7 weekend includes:

  • Recommend LIRR should be used for essential business travel only
  • NYC Marathoners should use Babylon, Long Beach and Port Washington Branches for direct service to and from Penn Station
  • Port Washington branch is the only unaffected LIRR branch and extra trains are being added in the morning between 9 AM and 1 PM, and in the afternoon between 4 PM and 8 PM.
  • Only three trains will operate each hour in each direction between Jamaica and Penn Station (about one-third regular weekend service level)
  • Alternative subway service is available via NYC Transit's "E" subway line between Penn Station and Jamaica (the Archer/Sutphin stop on the "E")
  • There will be no LIRR train service between Jamaica and Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn
  • Huntington/Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma (overnight period only) and Oyster Bay Branch trains will terminate and originate at Mineola, and buses will operate between Mineola and Jamaica.
  • Buses replace LIRR trains between Queens Village and Jamaica on the Hempstead Branch
  • Babylon and Huntington weekend service will be reduced from half-hourly to hourly.
  • Most Ronkonkoma trains will be re-routed along the Babylon Branch for a portion of the trip
  • Customers should allow up to 70 minutes of additional travel time
  • No LIRR train service will operate to/from Atlantic Terminal, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Hollis, Locust Manor, Laurelton, Rosedale, Merillon Avenue, New Hyde Park, St. Albans, Nostrand Avenue and East New York. These stations will be served by existing alternative public transportation (see LIRR Jamaica Cutover Service Plan (http://www.mta.info/supplemental/lirr/JCOCutover.htm) for detailed information).
  • Bicycles will not be permitted on buses or trains

NYC Marathon Attendees

To avoid busing and subway transfers, those heading to the NYC Marathon on November 7 are advised to use the Babylon, Long Beach or Port Washington Branches for direct service to Penn Station. The Port Washington branch will operate every 30 minutes between 9 AM and 1 PM (westbound) and 4 PM and 8 PM (eastbound). Please consult special timetables for early morning departure times on these branches.

Sports Fans and Theater-goers:

Consider taking the Babylon, Long Beach or Port Washington Branches, the "E" subway line service or alternate forms of transportation.

For a detailed branch-by-branch description of how LIRR service will be impacted this weekend consult the LIRR's Jamaica Cutover Service Plan at http://www.mta.info/supplemental/lirr/JCOCutover.htm.

LIRR customers are advised to pick up special weekend timetables dated November 6-7 and familiarize themselves with the significant changes taking place this weekend.

Extra LIRR personnel will be on duty throughout the weekend to assist customers and to make sure the project is completed on time.

Additional information on how service will be impacted during the November 6-7 cutover weekend is available in the Jamaica Cutover brochure at: http://mta.info/lirr/pubs/JCOCutover/index.htm

Right-of-Way (ROW) Clean-up:
With the reduced train movement through Jamaica Station during the cutover weekend, the LIRR will also use this time to perform right-of-way (ROW) clean-up in the area surrounding Jay Tower (to the west of Jamaica). This weekend, Saturday, November 6, specialize track equipment will be used to perform this clean-up of the Jamaica Station tracks and surrounding areas in Jamaica between 6 AM and 2 PM.

The Modernization Project

The Jamaica Signal cutover project consists of installing a new microprocessor technology signal system in the three interlockings (signal and switching areas) that control train movement through Jamaica. These three interlockings are called Jay, Dunton and Hall. Upon completion of the project - which requires two 48-hour weekend service disruptions - signals and switches will be controlled from one facility, Jamaica Central Control; instead of the three towers located in each of these interlockings.

New JCO Center


Project Benefits

The project brings state-of-the-art technology to this critical LIRR location by replacing the 1910's-era electro-mechanical Model 14 Interlocking Machines at the three towers with a modern microprocessor-based system. The new more reliable system will increase operational flexibility for the large volume of trains that pass through this area, helping to reduce customer delays. The new system also will provide redundant signal control systems and will allow for quicker recovery time in the event of a power surge, or lightning storm or fire-related service disruption like the one experienced in August 2010, when high voltage power entered the signal system and damaged the wiring to the signal control board in Jamaica's Hall Tower.


Old JCO Center

The train directors, presently located in three towers, will be located in a single office that provides them with the ability to communicate face to face in real time instead of by telephone. An overview board will allow all the train directors to see the train movements as they are being made in other parts of the complex - enabling them to plan for changes in real time. This will allow for improved planning and coordination of train movements in this very dynamic operation.


The cost of the project is approximately $56-million. Funding is provided by the MTA Capital Program.

Jamaica Modernization Project Video

An informative video on the Jamaica Modernization Project is available for viewing at


Project and service information will also be available on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mtalirr?ref=nf and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LIRRScoop.