Long Island RR will Close East River Tunnels For New Signals

MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) will close two of four East River tunnels  to install a new signal system as part of the East Side Access project, LIRR officials announced..

The two tunnels connect Queens to Manhattan and Penn Station in New York City. The LIRR will install a portion of a new computerized signal system that will control train travel through an area in Sunnyside, Queens, known as the Harold Interlocking. Harold is the nation’s busiest commuter-rail intersection used every day by the LIRR, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit, according to an LIRR press release. The Amtrak-owned East River Tunnels (the only LIRR-used trackage not owned by the LIRR) are reached from the LIRR Main Line in Long Island City.

 The LIRR is the only commuter passenger railroad in the United States to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with significant off peak, weekend, and holiday service.  Established in 1834 and having operated continuously since then, it is the oldest U.S. railroad still operating under its original name and charter. There are 124 stations, and more than 700 miles  of track,on its two lines to the two forks of the island and eight major branches, with the passenger railroad system totaling 319 miles.


The work is the first in a series of “cutovers” to the improved technology that will occur over the next several years, LIRR officials said. When completed, the East Side Access will speed up travel for Long Islanders by transporting them to Grand Central Terminal and the East Side of Manhattan for the first time.

$86M to be spent on East River train tunnels



Sen. Charles Schumer announced in November, 2014 that Amtrak will use the funds to improve four East River tunnels that carry Long Island Rail Road customers.