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LIRR lays final 5 miles of rail for double-track project

The $387.2 million project is expected to cut down on delays by enabling trains to pass disruptions.
Photo – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Flickr account


MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has laid the final 5 miles of rail for its double-track project, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced late last week.

The $387.2 million project calls for adding a second track on LIRR's line between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, New York. With just one track along that 18-mile stretch at present, the LIRR can only operate a limited number of trains and lacks operational flexibility during disruptions.

The double-track project is expected to cut down on delays by enabling trains to pass disruptions. In addition, the project will enable the LIRR to provide more frequent off-peak service on the Ronkonkoma Branch in both directions, according to a press release issued by Cuomo's office.

The project is being completed in two phases. The first phase, which involved laying 3.5 miles of new track between Central Islip and Ronkonkoma, wrapped up in August 2016. The second phase includes laying the rest of the track between Farmingdale and Central Islip.

Over the next several months, crews will add stone ballast and perform tamping and surfacing. Workers also will install the third rail and a new signal system.

"For decades, leaders have talked about adding a second track to the Ronkonkoma Branch and today we are moving a major step closer to getting it done," Cuomo said. "By pairing design-build contracting with the use of innovative track-laying equipment, we are building a more robust infrastructure faster and at less expense to New Yorkers."

Over the past 25 years, ridership has doubled on the Ronkonkoma Branch, which now serves more than 48,000 passengers each weekday.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/15/2018