Filling a seven-hour gap in train service out of Riverhead, the Long Island Rail Road has added another westbound train that leaves at 9:21 a.m. on weekdays and could help usher passengers from the East End to Manhattan before noon, it was announced this week.
“If you had a late morning or early afternoon appointment, or even if you just wanted to see a Wednesday Broadway matinee, you either drove, took the Jitney or took the pre-dawn train,” said county Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches), adding that the next closest train leaves at 1:20 p.m. “This minor tweak in the train schedule solves those problems.”
Mr. Romaine had been successful last September in his years-long push to get the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to institute a train that arrives in Riverhead before 9 a.m., so that jurors could take the LIRR from points west. The so-called juror train pulls in at 8:55 a.m., but it had headed back empty due to track maintenance concerns in western Suffolk County, Mr. Romaine said.
After working with LIRR officials, Mr. Romaine and Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter finally got their wish.
The two lawmakers were on hand Monday to welcome a handful of passengers to the 9:21 a.m., which heads to the Ronkonkoma station, where passengers can board other trains headed west.
“This will get me into Queens at a reasonable time and then I’ll be able to take the subway to Jamaica,” one of the commuters, Bob Johnson, told Mr. Romaine and Mr. Walter, according to a press release.
Mr. Walter said “proper train service [is] crucial to the redevelopment of downtown Riverhead.
“The more service that is available, the more viable Riverhead is to businesses interested in locating here,” he said.
Summer weekend train service along what is known as the Greenport line, which runs from Ronkonkoma through Riverhead to Greenport, starts again May 16 and ends after Sept. 11.