Effective Monday, March 8, commuters will be experiencing timetable changes on off peak weekday and weekend trains on the Port Washington line. Due to construction and maintenance on the tracks, trains will run once an hour east and west, instead of the regular schedule of once every 30 minutes. This is expected to cause off peak weekday and weekend delays in commuting between Port Washington and Penn Station.
"LIRR officials stress that the work will result in a smoother ride and better service for its customers," said Legislator Wayne Wink about the scheduled maintenance. "This may affect commuters who work a staggered work schedule. Therefore, I recommend that residents contact the LIRR for a revised timetable."
However, commuters at the Port Washington train station have mixed feelings about the expected delays to their regular commute. Tom Fitzpatrick, a resident of Beacon Hill in Port Washington, said he takes the 6:15 a.m. train everyday to Penn Station. He noted that he expects the change to have "little to no impact" on his daily commute. He added, "I do think that my weekend commute will be more crowded, and I am not looking forward to that."
For Stephanie Rosenberg of Port Washington North, the delays pose a different problem. "I find this change to be an inconvenience for me," said Rosenberg who said she typically takes the 7:36 a.m. train, but sometimes makes the 8:08 a.m. to Penn Station. "Usually, there are no problems with overcrowding, but now I believe there will be. My commute will absolutely be affected."
On weekdays, one of two tracks between Woodside and Bayside will be temporarily out of service during mid-day hours for a track tie replacement program. To accommodate this work, five east-bound and six west-bound trains will be canceled, resulting in hourly mid-day service on the Port Washington Branch. In addition, two Port Washington Branch late night trains will depart 30 minutes later to accommodate bridge work in the Queens Boulevard area.
The construction on the tracks is scheduled to end May 16, but according to the MTA's Web site, this mid-day service change on the Port Washington Branch necessitated by track work does not represent the reduction in service on the branch that is currently proposed for September 2010 as part of the MTA's 2010 budget.
But there is some good news pertaining to the timetable changes. There will be an expansion of mid-day service to the Mets-Willets Point Station to guarantee that Mets fans don't miss a second of Opening Day at Citi Field on April 5.
"I rarely use the LIRR for games, but now with the expanded timetable, I will absolutely utilize it," Manorhaven resident Yemmin Htoon said.
But only time will determine if the changes in the timetable will cause a messy commute for Port Washington residents.
"I hope these timetable changes work out in my favor," said Ryan Lensman, of Manorhaven, who takes the train daily to Penn Station. "Otherwise, I'll have to start using my car. ... With the new service changes intact, I am rooting for the MTA. I have high hopes for the MTA's efforts."
For the revised timetable or more information, visit http://www.mta.info.