LIRR THIRD TRACK PROJECT
FLORAL PARK - HICKSVILLE
OVERVIEW

The LIRR Expansion Project from Floral Park to Hicksville, one of the region?s most significant transportation infrastructure projects, will improve mass transit, reduce traffic congestion, protect the environment, and enhance quality-of-life for communities along the Main Line. Major project elements include the elimination of seven grade crossings, new parking facilities, upgrades to railroad infrastructure and passenger rail stations, and other local improvements.

The completed project will enable more robust and reliable rail service, make living and working on Long Island easier and ensure the region?s economic prosperity now and for the next century. The project began in January 2018 and is anticipated to be completed by late 2022. LIRR map with highlighted expansion zone between Floral Park and Hicksville

Today, approximately 40% of LIRR riders travel along this segment of the Main Line  Source: MTA


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Third Track: Phase One LIRR Expansion 10 Projects 
Newsday 6/24/2018

LIRR Third Track - First Phase 10 major projects

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Third Track Project Delayed NEWSDAY late 1980's

 


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LIRR 3rd Track Project 5/05/2016 - MTA Diagram: George Chiasson, Jr. 

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Final LIRR Design Builders bid: Existing/Final Alignment Third Track Project MTA
Governor Cuomo Announces Groundbreaking of LIRR Third Track
September 6th, 2018

$2.6 Billion Expansion Includes 50 Projects to Modernize 9.8 Miles of the Congested LIRR Main Line Between Floral Park and Hicksville

Expansion Includes New and Renovated Bridges, Elimination of Grade Crossings, New Power Substations, Additional Parking, Renovated Stations, Modern Track and Signal Infrastructure

Part of Governor's Overall $6 Billion Investment in 100 LIRR Projects to Transform Region's Commuter Rail Service and Bolster Economic Growth

Groundbreaking September 5, 2018 Photo: MTA

 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on September 5, 2018, that the Long Island Rail Road is breaking ground on the historic Third Track. The $2.6 billion expansion effort includes 50 projects to modernize 9.8 miles along the congested Main Line of the LIRR between Floral Park and Hicksville. Those projects include adding a third track, eliminating all seven street-level grade crossings within the project corridor, adding new power substations and parking, and modernizing track and signal infrastructure. Forty percent of LIRR riders pass through the Main Line.

"Since the 1940s, people talked about adding a third track and modernizing the Main Line corridor - and now we're actually doing it," Governor Cuomo said. "These projects taken together will create smoother and more reliable service for LIRR passengers while at the same time improving public safety by eliminating dangerous grade crossings. The LIRR is the backbone of the region's economy and this expansion effort will boost growth for generations."

Benefits of the project will include smoother and more reliable commutes, safer and quieter crossings, improvements to stations and parking facilities, reduced noise along the project corridor as well as less congestion and cleaner air.

Project elements along the Main Line corridor include:

9.8 miles of a new third track;
7 grade crossing eliminations, including Covert Avenue, South 12th Street, New Hyde Park Road, Main Street, Willis Avenue, Urban Avenue and School Street;
7 bridge replacements and modifications, including South Tyson Avenue Bridge, Plainfield Avenue Bridge, Tanners Pond Road/Denton Avenue Bridge, Glen Cove Road Bridge, Meadowbrook Parkway Bridge, and Cherry Lane Bridge;
5 station improvements, including New Hyde Park Station, Merillon Avenue Station, Mineola Station, Carle Place Station, and Westbury Station; in addition to ADA-compliant elevators at Floral Park Station;
7 substation replacements, including Floral Park Substation, New Hyde Park Substation, Merillon Avenue Substation, Mineola Substation, Carle Place Substation, Westbury Substation, and New Cassel Substation;
7.5 miles of sound/retaining walls; and
Additional improvements throughout the project corridor.

At the Governor's direction and after 70 years of stagnation, the state, MTA, local officials and Long Island communities are moving forward on this $2.6 billion project. The transformative new plan differs significantly from past proposals. The plan takes no residential properties, eliminates the seven street-level grade crossings, and widens or increases the height of seven bridges across the line to prevent bridge strikes.

As part of the transformative project, the state is also undertaking a comprehensive noise abatement program - replacing all tracks and building the new Third Track with advanced dampening technology. The project also includes sound-reducing walls along nearly six miles of residential neighborhoods along the mainline, and features architectural treatments to complement the surrounding environments.

The LIRR will also replace power infrastructure throughout the system with seven new traction power substations to improve reliability and increase capacity enough to power three LIRR trains traveling simultaneously. In addition, to increase safety, the system will add positive train control to prevent operator error.

To ensure community input throughout the entirety of the project, the LIRR has entered into memoranda of understanding with the communities on the Main Line Third Track. The MOUs invite input on project design, including aesthetic design of certain project elements such as sound walls, consideration for traffic and parking, utilities, drainage, pest and dust control, transit-oriented development, construction schedule and duration and community safety and quality of life.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota said, "Today is a grandly historic day for the LIRR and the MTA. This project will help the railroad overcome day to day operational challenges and dramatically increase capacity, and it will unlock the railroad's potential to serve reverse peak travel and propel Long Island as an economic growth engine. It has been a wish list item for as long as the MTA has existed, and today it is clear it will become a reality."

Janno Lieber, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chief Development Officer said, "This project is innovative in many ways. It's a design build project, which delivers better budget and more certain schedule. And we have designed to minimize community impacts and created significant economic incentives for the contractor to respect community commitments. We're showing how the MTA is changing to deliver benefits to the public faster, better and less expensively."

Long Island Rail Road President Philip Eng said, "The complete transformation of the Long Island Rail Road is what this region needs. Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, it's finally happening. With this historic investment, coupled with our LIRR Forward initiative, people across Long Island will begin to experience the world-class railroad they expect and deserve."

Senator Elaine Phillips said, "My job as State Senator is to be a voice for the communities and residents that this project directly impacts and I will continue to advocate on their behalf. As we work to transform and modernize the way Long Island residents commute and build a better and stronger region - we must take into account the quality of life of those affected by these new transformations. With that foremost in mind, I look forward to improved commuting experiences as well as public safety for those in my district."

Assembly Member Michael Montesano said, "I am so pleased we have finally broken ground on the 3rd track project for the LIRR. This is a much needed improvement which will help the Long Island economy and the transportation system as a whole. This nearly 10-mile addition will eliminate seven grade crossings, create 3,500 new parking spaces and give upgrades to the stations along the route. Commuters can rest easy knowing delays and cancellations will be decreasing and safety will be increasing. I look forward to these improvements being made to our communities."

Assembly Member Charles Lavine said, "I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership on the third track project. The third track would benefit my constituents who travel every day on the Oyster Bay, Huntington, and Ronkonkoma lines. By adding less than 10 miles of new track, we can alleviate the most congested corridor of the LIRR. I praise the Governor's leadership and advocacy on this project."

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, "After decades of talk, I am grateful for Governor Cuomo's action in providing reliable transportation and bringing a third track to Long Island Rail Road's Main Line. A reliable infrastructure is the backbone of a thriving economy, and this groundbreaking action will serve millions of New Yorkers for generations to come."

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, "The Third Track will play a big role in supporting transit-oriented development throughout Nassau County. Once again we want thank Governor Cuomo for his continued and successful commitment to infrastructure improvements across New York State."

The Third Track expansion project is expected to be substantially completed by the end of 2022.

Work on the Main Line is part of the historic $6 billion transformation of the Long Island Rail Road to strengthen the region's transportation infrastructure and usher in a new era of economic growth. In total, approximately 100 transformative LIRR capital projects are moving forward, including the Main Line Third Track, Double Track, Jamaica Station Reconstruction, 39 renovated Long Island Rail Road stations and grade crossing eliminations.

The project team has engaged in an unprecedented level of public outreach with a broad range of individuals and organizations, including community groups, elected and appointed officials, businesses, and residents. Many of the Project's elements and construction impact minimization measures are the direct result of input given by the public. A series of environmental and community commitments were developed over the course of the planning phase in coordination with many stakeholders along the Project corridor.  Source: MTA


MTA/LIRR Map - July 2019 Track-Programs

 

South Tyson Avenue, Floral Park

Project Overview MTA:  The South Tyson Avenue Bridge, located in the Village of Floral Park along the LIRR Main Line, is a steel through-girder bridge that spans over South Tyson Avenue; the Floral Park Viaduct is an adjacent elevated concrete structure supported by concrete column piers located west of South Tyson Avenue. The bridge, in service since 1958, is being modified, and a new two-track bay bridge is being installed to address an existing Main Line bottleneck – where four tracks merge into two – to create room for a new third track. The new third track will originate from the Hempstead Branch, then merge with the Main Line east of South Tyson Avenue to accommodate a future increase in capacity on the Main Line.

The Floral Park Viaduct has two separate components, one serving the Main Line, the other serving the Hempstead Branch, and both the Floral Park Viaduct and the South Tyson Avenue Bridge will be widened to accommodate the new third track. The bridge will be replaced using the method successfully employed at LIRR’s Post Avenue Bridge in Westbury, which was completed with limited disruption to train and road traffic, over a single weekend in October 2017.

South Tyson Avenue Bridge Modification - 3rd Track Project  2/01/2019 Photos/Archive: MTA
Covert Avenue, New Hyde Park
Photos/Archive: Sunny Zheng unless noted 
 
ALCO S2 #452 with freight - PRR 2 Door Horsecar eastbound at Covert Ave., New Hyde Park View NW c.1952  (Winslow-Keller)
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New Hyde Park - Covert Avenue view NW 4/08/2019
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New Hyde Park - Covert Avenue view NE 4/08/2019  
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New Hyde Park - Covert Avenue view S 4/08/2019
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New Hyde Park - Covert Avenue underpass construction
View W 5/02/2019
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New Hyde Park - Covert Avenue underpass construction
View N 5/02/2019 
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New Hyde Park - Covert Avenue underpass construction
View NW 5/02/2019

New Hyde Park - Covert Avenue underpass construction View S
7/14/2019 Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

New Hyde Park - Covert Avenue underpass construction north side view E 7/14/2019 Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

New Hyde Park - Covert Avenue bridge roll-in. 8/24/2019  12 o'clock noon.
What was amazing about this project is that the bridge, retaining walls and the roadway base were all rolled into place as ONE PIECE.

This was the first time that this type of construction was performed in the US and utilized a jacking system rated at 1,000 tons.

The Community Outreach Manager for the project, Leslie Mesnick, welcomed me to come into the construction sight and take noon time photographs up close. Photos/Archive Dave Morrison


Covert Avenue Grade Crossing Elimination Project 8/24/25 Source: MTA
 

2nd Avenue bridge roll-in. 8/24/2019  12 o'clock noon.

2nd Ave replacement bridge nearly in place 8/24/2019 5:00pm

2nd Ave bridge jacks almost fully extended  8/24/2019 5:00pm

Covert Ave - MTA 8/27/2019

Covert Avenue view N prior to 2018 Photo/Archive: Steve Pfost

Covert Avenue view N 10/2019 Photo/Archive: Edward Hand
 
Denton Avenue, New Hyde Park
Photos/Archive: Dave Morrison unless noted 
September 29th, 2019

Denton Ave - View N 9/29/2019

Denton Ave - SW Corner 9/29/2019

Denton Ave - View S 9/29/2019

Denton Ave. breaking up the old bridge

Denton Ave. prep work - View W  station at far right

Denton Ave. prep work - View W

Denton Ave - View E prep work

Denton Ave - View SE prep work

 

Denton Ave project MOW stone train eastbound
Nassau Blvd., Garden City
Photos/Archive: Dave Morrison unless noted 

Existing old 1958 Nassau Blvd. Bridge - View NE 10/2018

Existing Nassau Blvd. Bridge - View N 9/29/2019

New Nassau Blvd. Bridge 10/02/2019 prior to being moved into place on 10/05/2019. Source: MTA
Saturday October 5th, 2019

Nassau Blvd old bridge removed - View S 10/05/2019

Old 1958 bridge moved to parking lot awaiting demolition.

Hand held controller for the SPMT (Self Propelled Modular Transporter) moving the new bridge assembly.

Bottom original 1911 abutments to be used for new bridge.

Close-up 1911 abutments build date.

 


New abutment tops to be moved and placed on top of 1911 abutments. View NW

SPMT (Self Propelled Modular Transporter) moves the new bridge assembly into place. 10/05/2019

MOW track team ready to go.

President Phillip Eng and Community Outreach Manager for the project, Leslie Mesnick. Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison
Sunday October 6th, 2019

New Nassau Blvd. bridge in place since 3:00am Sunday morning October 6th, 2019.

Nassau Blvd. new bridge deck - View E 10/06/2019

Nassau Blvd. track laying - View E 10/06/2019

Nassau Blvd. - MOW track laying - View E 10/06/2019

Nassau Blvd. - Moving rail segments 10/06/2019

Nassau Blvd track laying - View W 10/06/2019

Dirt removal begins on Nassau Blvd. 10/16/2019

Dave Morrison displays the old Nassau Blvd bridge road clearance sign. The current clearance is now 14 feet. According to President Phillip Eng the posted height is actually one foot below the actual clearance height, as per NY State regulations.
Carle Place Station

Carle Place Station - shelter shed (1923-1952) c.1930 
Photo: James V. Osborne Archive: Ray Muntz

CARLE PLACE (CARLL PLACE)  MAIN LINE DEPOT BUILT: 1837 WITH OPENING OF LIRR TO HICKSVILLE. (MINEOLA PARK) APPEARS ON TT OF 6/17/1837. REMOVED AS STATION STOP FROM TIMETABLE OF 1859. 2ND STATION OPENED WITH WOOD EN SHELTER SHED (NO AGENCY). IN SERVICE  BETWEEN MAY AND OCT./ 1923 PER ETT #99, EFF. 10/9/1923. REMOVED: 1952. 3RD STATION OPENED 400’ EAST OF FORMER LOCATION WITH HIGH-LEVEL PLATFORMS, SEMI- ENCLOSED SHELTERS AND PEDESTRIAN CROSSOVER: 1/21/52. NO AGENCY.
Research: Dave Keller

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Carle Place - View E Photo/Archive: Ray Muntz
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Carle Place -View E Platform removal Photo/Archive: Ray Muntz
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Carle Place -View E Platform gone. Photo/Archive: Ray Muntz
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New platform sections set in place on the north side of Carle Place Station.   MTA Capital Construction May 17, 2019 

New platform sections have been set in place on the north side of the Carle Place station, while the construction of sound and retaining walls on the south side of the station continues. This progress follows the relocation of the southern utility poles and the demolition of the western halves of the eastbound and westbound platforms.

Cherry Lane, Carle Place 
 
Carle Place - Cherry Lane new underpass -1952 news photo. Archive: Ray Muntz

Cherry lane - View N 5/01/2019 Photo/Archive: Ray Muntz
 
 Cherry Lane, Carle Place - View S 2019 Photo: MTA

In service since 1953, the low-hanging Cherry Lane Bridge has been the site of many accidents over the years as a result of trucks striking the bridge, resulting in train and traffic delays while LIRR crews worked to determine the bridge safety and structural stability.  As part of our modernization program, we're replacing this bridge, June 1-3, to improve service reliability. The new bridge will not only be wide enough to support a third track, but will be two feet higher, reducing the number of delays related to bridge strikes by over-height trucks. Info: MTA

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Cherry Lane, Carle Place - View N  5/09/2019
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

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Cherry Lane, Carle Place - View E  5/09/2019
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

 
Cherry Lane trackside view W Photo/Archive: Ray Muntz
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Cherry Lane bridges - View N 5/25/2019
 Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison
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Cherry Lane bridge project view E 5/25/2019 
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

View W at new bridge 6/01/2019 7:00am
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

View S at new bridge  6/01/2019 7:00am
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

View N -  6/01/2019 2:00pm
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison
 
View SW - 6/01/2019 2:00pm
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Cherry Lane demolishing the old bridge. Photo/Archive: Ray Muntz

Cherry Lane old bridge is out. Photo/Archive: Ray Muntz

View S The old bridge is gone 6/02/2019 8:00am
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

View N The old bridge is cut up south of the ROW  6/02/2019 8:00am Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Cherry Lane - Working through the night 6/02/2019
Photo/Archive: Ray Muntz

Construction worker raising American flag 6/02/2019 1:00pm Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

View E Carle Place water tank - American Flag 6/02/2019 1:00pm Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Fuel truck on site 6/02/2019 1:00pm
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Construction worker controlling the moving equipment of the new bridge 6/02/2019 2:00pm Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Moving it in! View S - 6/02/2019 2:00pm
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

New bridge nearly in place 6/02/2019 2:00pm
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Cherry Lane new bridge move in place
6/02/2019 Photo/Archive: Ray Muntz

Departure from Hicksville to Babylon Shuttle 6/02/2019
Photo/Archive: Bill Mangahas
Diesel shuttle trains running 11 miles between between Hicksville and Babylon by way of Bethpage and the Central Branch due to the Cherry Lane bridge replacement.

Cherry Lane Bridge Installation Project
Special Schedules
Weekend of June 1-2, 2019
No Train Service Between Hicksville & Mineola

Huntington/Port Jefferson Branch

On Saturday and Sunday, westbound customers at stations Port Jefferson through Syosset will take trains to Hicksville, connect to a shuttle train from Hicksville to Babylon, then transfer to express trains from Babylon to Penn Station. Eastbound customers traveling to stations Syosset through Port Jefferson will board trains from Penn Station to Babylon, connect with a shuttle train to Hicksville, then board an eastbound Port Jefferson Branch train. MTA


Hicksville-Babylon Shuttle 6/02/2019
Photo/Archive: Bill Mangahas

Old bridge remains removal into dumpsters 6/02/2019 2:00pm Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Truck loaded with ballast for ROW restoration work. 6/02/2019 2:00pm Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Trucks ready to take away the temporary dirt fill.
 6/02/2019 2:00pm Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Track installation 6/02/2019 Photo/Archive: Ray Muntz

Cherry-Lane ballasting the new bridge via boom 6/02/2019 Photo/Archive: Ray Muntz

Truckloads of ballast - rainbow- view E c.5:00pm 6/02/2019 Photo/Archive: Ray Muntz

Carle Place - Access point changes - MTA

Carle Place Station Reconstruction Changes to Westbound Platform Boarding Patterns Effective June 10, 2019

Beginning on Monday, June 10, the west end of the westbound platform at Carle Place Station will re-open, and the east end of the platform will close, as station reconstruction, part of the LIRR Expansion Project, continues to progress. The staircase to the westbound platform at Cherry Lane will re-open as well.  MTA

 

Mineola 
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Mineola Station trackside view N  9/27/2018
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Mineola - View E  9/27/2018
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Mineola Third Track MTA/LIRR rendering View E 12/17/2018
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Mineola -Prep work for third track project  View W 9/27/2018
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Mineola -Tree clearing for third track project  View E 9/27/2018
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Mineola - New signal bridge installation  View E 9/27/2018
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Mineola - Shelter Station  View E  9/27/2018
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Mineola - Shelter Station  View W  9/27/2018
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Mineola 10/10/2018 View NW Photo: Pat Scopelliti

Mineola LIRR #7707 eastbound 7/31/2019
Photo/Archive: Brady Rider

LIRR was a ward of the PRR for a long time, so this was a PRR practice, with the 3rd track, the convention at Mineola will be:
# 3 track, westbound local # 1 track, center track, bidirectional Express #2 track, eastbound local. As is the current practice, all tracks will be CTC 261, i.e. any track, any time, any direction.


NASSAU Tower, Mineola - View W 9/29/2019

NASSAU Tower, Mineola - New parking garage -  View SW 9/29/2019
Urban Ave., Westbury

Urban Ave retaining wall 7/01/2019
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Urban Ave - View S 7/01/2019
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Urban Ave - View N 7/01/2019
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Urban Ave underpass construction - View S 7/01/2019
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Urban Ave - LIRR shuttle 7/20/2019 Archive: MTA/LIRR

Urban Ave - View N 7/20/2019
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Urban Ave underpass construction - View S 7/22/2019
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Urban Ave underpass construction - View S zoom 7/22/2019
Photo/Archive: Dave Morrison

Urban Ave underpass - Main line open - View SE   7/31/2019
Photo/Archive: MTA/LIRR