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LIRR Officials Roll Out Next Phase Of ‘Double Track’ Project

LIRR President Helena Williams and Sen. Charles Schumer at LIRR 'Double Track' Announcement Jan. 16, 2013 (Credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

LIRR President Helena Williams and Sen. Charles Schumer at LIRR ‘Double Track’ Announcement Jan. 16, 2013 (Credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

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RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The Long Island Rail Road’s “Double Track” project is back on track, officials announced Wednesday.

An environmental assessment is under way on building an additional track from Ronkonkoma, one of the railroad’s busiest stations, to Farmingdale. Only one track runs between the stations, which are about 18 miles apart.

The public will also have its say on the project. Two public information centers are being set up to field comments.

A commuter named Joyce said the single track line from Ronkonkoma to Penn Station is too prone to hold-ups. She said the trip takes nearly two hours door-to-door now.

“We have a lot of delays, but most of them are because of trains breaking down or accidents or that kind of thing,” she told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller.

LIRR President Helena Williams said relief is on the way.

“Half-hourly service with two tracks. Two tracks are better than one,” Williams said. “Right now with one track, if a train becomes disabled or there’s the need for police activity on a train then, unfortunately, every train after that backs up.”

Sen. Charles Schumer said the additional track between Ronkonkoma and Farmingdale will be a time-saver.

“The trains will go faster. But when there’s a stalled train, the time you wait will be much less as well,” said Schumer.

The project is expected to create hundreds of construction jobs, according to the LIRR. Ridership has doubled on the Ronkonkoma branch over the last 25 years, according to the commuter rail service.

The first phase of the project could be complete by 2016.

Also at the news conference, Sen. Schumer, the chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, presented tickets to the Jan. 21 presidential inauguration to a family of three displaced by flooding from superstorm Sandy.

What do you think of the project? Please offer your comments below…