New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has allocated $5.6bn for the transformation of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), which is intended to improve transportation infrastructure and facilitate economic growth in the region.

Works currently outlined for the project include the Main Line Third Track, Double Track, and Jamaica Station Reconstruction, as well as the renovation of 39 stations along the network and the elimination of several grade crossings.

Governor Cuomo said: “The LIRR is the backbone of the region's economy, and the strength and resiliency of Long Island requires bold, transformative investments to bolster our transportation network.

“From the previously unthinkable Third Track and Second Track projects to state-of-the-art technology and signal upgrades, we are daring to imagine better and delivering for the people of New York once again.”

The transformation project is a part of New York's wider $100bn infrastructure programme.

One of the most notable aspects of the plan involves the construction a new Hudson Tunnel between New York and New Jersey, in addition to the rehabilitation of the existing tubes.

The Gateway project will connect travellers from the Northeast corridor to the rail system and will be complimented by the development of the new Penn-Farley Complex, including the new $1.6bn Moynihan Train Hall facility that is currently scheduled to open in 2020.

The 255,000ft2 Penn-Farley Complex also includes the newly opened West End Concourse, which will allow LIRR commuters to board trains without entering Penn station.

Further, the transformative East Side Access project will create the first direct LIRR service to the east side, while increasing passenger capacity to and from Manhattan.

The LIRR expansion project involves the construction of a third 9.8mi track along the congested Main Line of the LIRR between Floral Park and Hicksville, which carries more than 40% of the network's passengers.

"The LIRR is the backbone of the region's economy, and the strength and resiliency of Long Island requires bold, transformative investments to bolster our transportation network."

The state will sign memoranda of understanding with all the communities affected by the $2bn project to ensure community input throughout the entirety of the development.

A $387.2m 12.6mi double track project has been undertaken that will allow the LIRR to increase the frequency of off-peak services to Ronkonkoma Branch. It is scheduled to be completed by the middle of next year.

Additionally, state will build a $128m Mid-Suffolk Storage Yard in Ronkonkoma and reconstruct Jamaica Station, which has been allocated another $357m.

The programme also involves refurbishment of additional 12 bridges and the modernisation of 13 electric power substations.


Image: Ticket counters of the Long Island Rail Road in Pennsylvania Station, New York City. Photo: courtesy of Antony-22.