Long Island Rail Road riders are experiencing some major service delays this weekend as the railroad begins a massive modernization project.
The project will update technology at the control center at Jamaica station, including the tower where a fire caused major service disruptions in August, and will make travel easier in the future. But for now, riders can expect extremely limited service this weekend.
Riders are being advised to allow up to 70 minutes of extra travel time, or use subways or buses instead. The E train is cross-honoring LIRR tickets.
Only three trains are operating each hour between Jamaica and Penn Station. And all of the LIRR branches – except for Port Washington – have significant changes.
About 60,000 people are expected to be bused to and from Jamaica station.
“We have buses in place at Mineola and Queens Village, and here at Jamaica, as you can see,” said LIRR spokesman Joe Calderone. “So the lines that are impacted, in terms of needing to take a bus and then a subway, we are getting people where they need to go.”
There is also no service between Jamaica and Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn.
Also, no trains will be available at East New York, Forest Hills, Hollis, New Hyde Park, Kew Gardens, Laurelton, Locust Manor, Merillon Avenue, Nostrand Avenue, Rosedale and Saint Albans.
Some riders said their trip this morning was incredibly difficult.
"I've been traveling from Atlantic Avenue and I went to Penn Station and now I'm stuck right here in Jamaica, waiting for a train just to go to Garden City," said one LIRR rider.
"I'm really confused and everything that's going on with the increases, with the MTA, I think they should be handling the situation a little more professionally," said another. "Definitely they should have more people out here telling us some sort of direction. But it's just a lot of confusion."
But other riders took the service changes in stride and praised the helpful station agents.
"Everyone here, while I'm waiting here, they've asked me if I'm waiting for a bus and everyone has told me where to go for a bus and whatever so they're very attentive," said the rider.
“It took longer to get to Jamaica, but it but it wasn't a problem really,” said another.
Officials say riders can expect a normal commute on Monday.
Work will also be done on the weekend of November 6-7, so service will again be limited.
For more information, visit mta.info.