What does a substation do, and how does it work? There are 104 substations on the LIRR across all areas of the Rail Road’s electrified territory. At each of these substations, AC voltage is converted to DC voltage and safely fed to the third rail out on the tracks. This electrical power then energizes each train’s traction motor, the electric motor which propels the train.

On the LIRR, substations are strategically replaced as part of every capital program, typically based on age and/or state of good repair – substations may also be upgraded or replaced as part of a larger MTA or LIRR Project initiative. The substations which have been replaced or are being replaced or modified can be grouped in three categories:

LIRR Expansion Project Floral Park to Hicksville:

Carle Place
Floral Park (modifications)
Merillon Avenue
New Cassel
New Hyde Park

Seven of these substations are being replaced – except for Floral Park, which was commissioned in 2010 and is being modified – as part of the LIRR Expansion Project Floral Park to Hicksville. These substations are all almost 50-years-old and have exceeded their design and/or useful life. While they are still functional, their reliability has diminished and the potential for failures has increased due to their age. Securing replacement components and repair parts is also a significant challenge, as most original equipment at these substations is now obsolete.

Some of these substations also lack the required equipment and additional capacity to support the improved service the new Main Line Third Track will deliver to LIRR customers.

Substations to Be Replaced:

Bellmore Substation
Meadowbrook Substation
Murray Hill Substation
Ocean Avenue Substation
Rosedale Substation


Port Washington
Oceanside Substation
Oil City Substation
Long Beach Substation

The Bellmore, Meadowbrook and Ocean Avenue substations are being replaced – the LIRR announced the replacement of the Port Washington Substation on January 3, 2019 – under the 2015-19 Capital Program for the same reasons as the LIRR Expansion Project substations; the Murray Hill (built in 1967) and Rosedale substations will be replaced under a future Capital Program. Replacing these Substations will continue to improve reliability, with increased equipment capacities and up-to-date, safe and code-compliant pre-fabricated buildings and equipment. This is a photo of the new Port Washington Substation:

New Port Washington Substation - 9-25-2018The new Long Beach Substation was commissioned in early 2018 under the Sandy Rehabilitation Project Initiative, which also replaced Substations at Oil City and Oceanside damaged during Super Storm Sandy in 2012. More substations will be replaced in the future, with some of these projects currently in the planning stage.

The LIRR Modernization Program is a multibillion dollar investment in the regional transportation infrastructure that will foster Long Island’s economic growth for generations to come. This comprehensive program to reconstruct and improve the LIRR system is moving forward with planning, design and construction, with projects ranging from large system expansion efforts, such as the LIRR Expansion Project from Floral Park to Hicksville, East Side Access and the Double Track Project from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma, to improvements to existing infrastructure, such as station enhancements and substation replacements.

The Long Island Rail Road’s 104 substations help get trains where they need to be, safely and on time. Residing quietly, and safely, behind fences, these engineering marvels are making a powerful contribution to a modern Long Island.

For more information, please visit AModernLI.com – http://www.amodernli.com/projects/.