The Double Track project is now operational!
Over the past 25 years, ridership on the Ronkonkoma Branch has doubled with close to 48,000 customers each weekday. With only one track along 13 miles of the 17-mile stretch between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, there was a significant risk to reliable service and on-time performance in the event of a service disruption: The Double Track Project is a 21st century solution for crowd reduction, delay prevention and service improvements.
The Double Track Project has introduced 13 miles of a brand-new second track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma. Construction of an uninterrupted second track on the Ronkonkoma Line has been part of the LIRR’s vision for decades – the project also includes new platforms and station rehabilitation at Pinelawn and Wyandanch Stations, as well as procurement, testing and installation of new signal equipment for the entire Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma segment.
The $431 million project was completed on an expedited schedule thanks to an innovative track-laying technology that lays rail 10 times faster than before, which, combined with a productive design-build approach, put this project on course for completion by the end of Summer 2018. The first trains are entering 14 months ahead of the original construction schedule, which was accelerated in 2016 at Governor Cuomo’s direction. Early completion of the project has freed up LIRR resources for other projects in support of LIRR’s expansion and modernization, like Positive Train Control, East Side Access, Main Line Third Track and Ronkonkoma Yard.
Double Track, in conjunction with East Side Access and the Main Line Third Track projects, will unlock this region’s true potential. LIRR can now provide better access to Brookhaven National Laboratory and Long Island MacArthur Airport; a second track gives this branch the capacity possibilities Suffolk County needs to grow, allowing transit-oriented development to function optimally and encourage smart growth near train stations.