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Massive Service Headaches On LIRR

FILE - LIRR Trains (credit: CBS 2)

FILE – LIRR Trains (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880) – Those planning to ride the Long Island railroad this weekend should be prepared for a long and frustrating commute. As CBS 2HD’s Jay Dow reports, extremely limited service was expected due to construction.

The LIRR, the nation’s oldest commuter railroad modernizing an aging infrastructure means fewer trains and longer delays this weekend.

- No LIRR service between Brooklyn and Jamaica
– No LIRR train service between Woodside and Jamaica
– There is no LIRR train or bus service at Atlantic Terminal, East New York, Forest Hills,

Kew Gardens and Nostrand Avenue
– Woodside Station will be served only by Port Washington Branch trains
– NYC Transit will honor LIRR tickets on the “E” subway at Jamaica & Penn Station
– Allow up to 70 minutes additional travel time

For more on how you could be affected by the service changes, click here.

“I take it to visit family and also for recreational purposes,” one passenger explained, “so I’ll have to find another way, or I’ll have to not go into the City.”

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports

The heart of the project involves replacing World War I-era equipment at Jamaica Station, the system’s busiest hub. It’s the same hub where a fire knocked out service for days back in August.

LIRR officials said bringing the switching and signal system into the digital, computer age simply couldn’t be done in stages at night. They need the entire weekend.

“We really need a full 48-hour period. We’re replacing equipment that’s only 100 years old. It’s very complicated and important project here at Jamaica. There are more than a thousand individual tests that must be done in order to make sure that the system is safe when we turn it back on Monday morning,” said Joe Caldarone, LIRR spokesman.

As an LIRR ad said, “We promise – it’ll be worth the wait.”

The Railroad has already taken to Facebook and YouTube to apologize to riders for what will be big delays on the North Shore lines where trains will be considerably less frequent on the following lines: Hempstead, Huntington, Oyster Bay and Port Jefferson.

South Shore Branches Babylon, Far Rockaway, Long Beach and Ronkonkoma will go through Penn Station but with severely reduced schedules.

The LIRR explains the new signal system upgrade: