The Long Island Rail Road plans to double service to the North Fork starting in late 2017 or 2018, according to deputy general manager George Fletcher, one of three LIRR officials who addressed the Greenport Village Board last Thursday.
The changes came in response to requests made by local officials during meetings held last July and again in January, according to Kyle McGraw, the railroad’s director of freight, shops and yards.
“Right now, we have one piece of equipment that operates between Ronkonkoma and Greenport and ping-pongs back and forth, making multiple trips per day,” Mr. Fletcher said. “One piece of equipment, two crews per day.
“There’s an A.M. and P.M. crew, and they provide two eastbound trips to Greenport and three westbound trips from Greenport.”
There are also two Riverhead round trips each day, he added.
East End officials had asked for two additional Ronkonkoma round trips and one additional westbound train leaving Greenport at about 9:30 a.m., he said
Mr. Fletcher said that can be accomplished by repositioning the sparsely used “jury train,” which was intended to transport people from western Suffolk to Riverhead for jury duty.
“It hasn’t been super successful,” he said. “At most, about 10 people per day use that train.”
Mr. Fletcher said that by having two round trip trains plus the 9:30 a.m. eastbound train, “people could take a day trip to the city and get back in time.” This change is expected to happen by the end of this year.
Beginning in summer 2018, the LIRR also plans to increase weekend service to and from Greenport with two additional trains, bringing the total to four westbound trains from Greenport and three eastbound trains into Greenport on weekends, from Thanksgiving to May, according Steve Ellinghaus of the LIRR. After Thanksgiving, service would revert to the current winter schedule, he said.
“This is very encouraging,” Mayor Hubbard said. “We’re moving forward and making very good progress.”
“This is great,” Trustee Roberts said. But he also asked that officials take back with them a request that the LIRR parking lot at the Greenport train station be repaved.
“We’ll have all these trains coming out here, and we’re dropping off passengers at a place that looks like a stretch of the moon,” Mr. Roberts said.
File photo: The Mattituck train station. (Credit: The Suffolk Times)