05/25/12 10:00pm
05/25/2012 10:00 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Save $10 on admission to Tall Ships when you purchase a roundtrip LIRR ticket.

The Long Island Rail Road will provide extra train service to Greenport this Memorial Day weekend and is offering a discount for admission to the Tall Ships event with the purchase of a roundtrip ticket, according to an MTA press release.

Although Greenport Village is having a pre-sale for Tall Ship tickets, adult admission will increase from $7 to $15 May 15.

That $15 cost will be reduced to $5 when customers purchase the LIRR Greenport Tall Ships Package, which is good for Saturday and Sunday.

The package will not be sold onboard trains and bicycles will not be permitted on trains to and from Greenport on those days, MTA officials said.

The LIRR will not be able to provide additional service to Greenport or the $10 voucher on Memorial Day due to anticipated heavy travel that day, MTA officials saidHere’s the LIRR train schedule:

EASTBOUND

• 8:40 a.m. from Ronkonkoma, arriving Medford 8:51 a.m., Yaphank 8:59 a.m., Riverhead 9:25 a.m., Mattituck 9:41 a.m., Southold 9:55 a.m. and Greenport 10:05 a.m.

• 10:40 a.m. from Ronkonkoma, arriving Medford 10:51 a.m., Yaphank 10:59 a.m., Riverhead 11:25 a.m., Mattituck 11:41 a.m., Southold 11:55 a.m. and Greenport 12:05 p.m.

• 12:15 p.m. from Riverhead, arriving Mattituck 12:31 p.m., Southold 12:45 p.m. and Greenport 12:55 p.m.

• 3:40 p.m. from Ronkonkoma, arriving Medford at 3:51 p.m., Yaphank 3:59 p.m., Riverhead 4:25 p.m., Mattituck 4:41 p.m., Southold 4:55 p.m., Greenport 5:05 p.m.

• 3:25 p.m. from Riverhead, arriving Mattituck 3:41 p.m., Southold 3:55 p.m., Greenport 4:05 p.m.

WESTBOUND

• 1:11 p.m. from Greenport, arriving Southold 1:21 p.m., Mattituck 1:34 p.m., Riverhead 1:50 p.m., Yaphank 2:16 p.m., Medford 2:24 p.m. and Ronkonkoma 2:35 p.m.

• 2:11 p.m. from Greenport, arriving Southold 2:21 p.m., Mattituck 2:34 p.m. and Riverhead 2:50 p.m. Customers will board buses at Riverhead to continue to Yaphank, Medford and Ronkonkoma.

• 5:11 p.m. from Greenport, arriving Southold 5:21 p.m., Mattituck 5:34 p.m., Riverhead 5:50 p.m., Yaphank 6:16 p.m., Medford 6:24 p.m. and Ronkonkoma 6:35 p.m.

• 6:11 p.m. from Greenport, arriving Southold 6:21 p.m., Mattituck 6:34 p.m., Riverhead 6:50 p.m., Yaphank 7:16 p.m., Medford 7:24 p.m. and Ronkonkoma 7:35 p.m..

jennifer@timesreview.com

02/08/12 9:00am
02/08/2012 9:00 AM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | New smaller, faster scoot trains could be used to improve LIRR service to the East End.

For several years, a group called Five Town Rural Transit has been advocating for the creation of East End Shuttle, a coordinated shuttle train and bus network solely for the five East End towns. The plan was to use smaller, two-car shuttle trains on the existing East End railroad tracks, instead of Long Island Rail Road trains, to provide a more frequent rail service back and forth.

Now, the MTA appears to have embraced at least a part of that vision.

According to Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor), the MTA has included a $37.2 million expenditure in its five-year capital plan for the purchase of smaller, more reliable diesel trains for LIRR.

The new trains, known as “diesel multiple units,” or “scoot” trains, have smaller engines, are lighter, more cost effective and will travel shorter distances, Mr. Thiele said.

“The Long Island Rail Road is committed to exploring the possibility of providing “scoot” service as a way to increase service opportunities and ridership in eastern Suffolk County,” said Salvatore Arena, a spokesman for the MTA.

“We’re glad to hear this,” said Vince Taldone of Riverhead, who is a member of Five Town Rural Transit. “These trains would be smaller, more energy efficient and would provide more frequent service to the East End.”

The other key component to Five Town Rural Transit’s plan is to establish a network of feeder buses that meet passengers at the trains, Mr. Taldone said. However, getting the so-called scoot trains in place is a good first step, he said.

The LIRR’s East End lines, which end at Montauk on the South Fork and Greenport on the North Fork, have far less frequent train service than points west of Ronkonkoma, and are mostly single-tracks that are not electrified, so only diesel engines can run on them.

The proposed expenditure will permit the LIRR to purchase five of the new trains, which come in sets of two cars, Mr. Thiele said.

When ridership is heavier, another pair of cars can be attached.

According to the LIRR the new trains could “increase frequency of service, increase reliability, and promote intra-island commuting. The new diesels will be ideal to provide additional service in the non-electrified areas of the LIRR east of Ronkonkoma.”

“We are closer than ever to increasing public transportation opportunities for East End residents,” Mr. Thiele said, adding that the region “has clamored for increased service through the implementation of an integrated rail/bus shuttle service.”

“This could be very significant if it happens, and we’re hoping it does,” said Jim Ellwood of Riverhead, who is also a member of Five Town Rural Transit. He said he’d like to get more information, along with confirmation that the LIRR is actually going to move forward with the plan.

But he said getting the shuttles in place is a first step.

“The East End Shuttle was really an ideal,” he said. “If we can get half of that, or even a third of that, it would be welcome.”

tgannon@timesreview.com

02/19/11 12:00pm
02/19/2011 12:00 PM

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter (left), Greenport Mayor David Nyce, County Legislator Ed Romaine and Southold Supervisor Scott Russell are calling for the MTA to restore winter weekend train service to the North Fork.

County Legislator Ed Romaine came to the Greenport Long Island Rail Road station with other local elected officials Friday afternoon to call for restoration and expansion of weekend Long Island Rail Road service to the North Fork.

“We are the stepchild of the Long Island Rail Road,” Mr. Romaine said. With the Winterfest: Jazz on the Vine concerts taking place on weekends at area wineries, the railroad should be poised to offer weekend service, he said.

Facing a yawning budget deficit, the MTA last year imposed a payroll tax on businesses and governments within its service area. The MTA also curtailed train service to the East End, a move Southold Supervisor Scott Russell described as “taxation without transportation.”

At a time when there’s so much emphasis on green environmental initiatives, it doesn’t make sense to force tourists to use their own vehicles rather than the railroad to visit the East End, Mr. Romaine said.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said the solution is establishing an East End light rail service. That would cost an estimated $48 million. The East End towns pay a combined $60 million annually in payroll taxes to the MTA.

“The business model for the railroad doesn’t work,” Mr. Walter said. “The amount of money we send up west is staggering. Let me keep the payroll and property tax and cut service at Yaphank” and provide service east through light rail trains.

That message resonates with North Fork Environmental Council president Bill Toedter, who called for a comprehensive East End transportation plan.

North Fork Promotion Council managing director Andrea Parks said that her organization’s mission to improve tourism is thwarted by a lack of public transportation.

Mr. Romaine said he will continue to speak out until service is enhanced by the Long Island Rail Road or the money going to the MTA is instead put to use operating an East End light rail service.

“We’re giving them our money; they’re supposed to give us service and they’ve failed,” he said.

jlane@timesreview.com

10/31/10 7:41pm
10/31/2010 7:41 PM

Looking to board a train to Ronkonkoma or Greenport Village this weekend? Seek alternative plans.

This Saturday marks the first weekend until Memorial Day that the MTA will not be running LIRR trains to the North Fork.

The service cuts, along with other measures, come as part of the MTA’s efforts to close a looming $900 million budget gap. The reductions, in total, will save approximately $950,000 this year and $3.8 million annually starting in 2011, MTA officials said. The cuts have affected train and subway schedules across the 12 counties, including five in New York City, served by the agency.

“The LIRR will be monitoring the changes in the new timetable and will make schedule adjustments, as necessary, based on additional ridership and possible crowding on trains,” the MTA website now reads, though no changes are expected for the Greenport Line, which runs from Ronkonkoma to Greenport.

But the cuts in services to eastern Long Island, which many locals feel has been underserved by the MTA, were not has harsh as originally proposed.

In late January, the agency announced it was planning to halt nearly all train service to the North Fork along the Greenport Line, and eliminate one westbound train on its Montauk line serving the South Fork. It had only planned to run trains to the North Fork on summer weekends.

That news — delivered just eight months after state lawmakers approved a payroll tax in 2009 — was immediately decried by locally elected leaders. The tax, which took effect on Sept. 1, 2009, charges 34 cents on every $100 in employee wages for all businesses, governments and nonprofit groups operating in counties served by the MTA.

Facing public outcry that seemed to intensify by the day, the MTA in March scrapped its drastic plans for the Greenport Line, and approved cuts that would apply just for weekends between Memorial and Columbus days.

mwhite@timesreview.com


This post was originally published Oct. 15, 2010