Which LIRR Lines Will Go to Grand Central?


With the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) expanding its service to Grand Central Terminal, many commuters are wondering which LIRR lines will be affected and how they can take advantage of this new transportation option. This article will provide a clear picture of the changes, the pros and cons of the transition, tips for navigating the new system, interviews with regular commuters, and a brief history of the LIRR’s relationship with Grand Central.

New Access to Grand Central: Which LIRR Lines Will Be Affected?

Starting in 2022, the LIRR will offer direct service to Grand Central Terminal as part of the East Side Access project. This expansion will provide a new access point to Manhattan for riders of the Port Washington, Ronkonkoma, and Oyster Bay branches. Those who rely on other LIRR lines will still be able to access Penn Station as usual.

List of Affected LIRR Lines

The LIRR branches that will have access to Grand Central include:

  • Port Washington Branch – Service between Port Washington and Manhattan’s East Side
  • Ronkonkoma Branch – Direct train service between Ronkonkoma and Manhattan’s East Side
  • Oyster Bay Branch – Direct train service between Oyster Bay and Manhattan’s East Side

Additional Information About Each Line’s Route, Schedule, and Potential Ridership

Each of these branches offers a unique experience for commuters. The Port Washington Branch services affluent areas such as Great Neck and Manhasset. The Ronkonkoma Branch is one of the busiest LIRR lines, serving commuters from Suffolk County into the heart of New York City. Finally, the Oyster Bay branch, which might not have as much ridership as the other two branches, services travelers from regions of Long Island such as East Norwich and Glen Head.

The Pros and Cons of LIRR Access to Grand Central

As with any major transportation change, there are benefits and drawbacks to the LIRR’s new access to Grand Central.

Potential Time Savings

One of the most significant advantages of the LIRR’s new access to Grand Central is the expected time savings for many East Side commuters. Those who work closer to Grand Central may find that the direct access saves them significant time and takes out the hassle of switching to another train line. The new LIRR service may be ideal for families with children who attend schools located on the East Side.

Increased Convenience

Commuters who live closer to the affected LIRR lines or work on the East side of Manhattan will benefit from the increased convenience that the new transport option offers. The new stop at Grand Central is expected to be fully integrated with the rest of the terminal, meaning that shopping, dining, and accessibility will be incredibly convenient. Moreover, it allows greater access for those with limited abilities to navigate the Penn Station setup.

Possible Overcrowding and Delays

One of the most significant concerns about the expanded service is the potential for overcrowding and delays, which could lead to discomfort and commuting frustration. It’s also important to note that some of the areas surrounding Grand Central already have high pedestrian and commuter traffic. However, the LIRR has stated that they are taking necessary measures to avoid overcrowding, so only time will tell if these precautions succeeded.

Higher Cost for Some Riders

Commuters taking the newly expanded service can expect a slightly higher fare than those using the LIRR to Penn Station. Therefore, it might not be the best option for some riders. However, others might prefer the new service, considering the time they will save or the convenience it offers.

Suggestions for Which Lines Might Be Better Suited to the New Transport Options

It’s essential to evaluate which LIRR branches are better suited for the new transportation options. For instance, the proximity to subway lines and the final destination you want to get into might be a critical consideration. The newly expanded service might be a better option for commuters residing or working on the East Side or Upper East Side. Also, those looking for a necessary change from the stress of Penn Station traffic may want to consider the new service regardless of their destination or origin.

A Guide to Navigating the LIRR Changes to Grand Central

One of the most crucial aspects of preparing for the LIRR’s new service to Grand Central is being familiar with the new system, including train schedules, ticketing, and boarding.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Buying Tickets, Finding Trains, and Boarding at Grand Central

You can purchase LIRR tickets online or at the station. Riders can get to the LIRR at Grand Central through the main terminal’s lower levels. Commuters can take escalators or elevators from the Grand Central Terminal Main Concourse level to the lower levels. The tracks are located directly underneath the terminal. There are also ticket machines should the passenger require any assistance. You can board the trains directly from the lower level platforms. The LIRR and MTA websites list useful guides personally tailored to understanding the new changes if anything seems confusing.

Tips for Avoiding Crowds and Keeping Track of Time

Commuters must anticipate change by getting to the station early to avoid unexpected crowds or delays. It’s also advisable to keep track of time by downloading the LIRR’s TrainTime app and double-checking schedules to guarantee they align with the planned commute. The app displays upcoming train times, track information, and escalator/elevator availability for each station, making it convenient for commuters to avoid getting stuck in the crowds.

Information about Connecting to Other Transit Options at Grand Central

Grand Central offers access to many other transportation options, such as multiple subway lines and bus lines. It is essential to get familiar with the surroundings of Grand Central if one is a newcomer to New York City.

Meet the LIRR Commuters Excited About Grand Central Access

One of the best ways to understand how the new changes will affect regular commuters is to talk to them directly. Their insights and anecdotes offer a glimpse of how the new LIRR service can make their lives easier or more challenging.

Interviews with Regular LIRR Commuters

We spoke to several LIRR commuters who expressed excitement about the new service to Grand Central and the convenience it can offer. However, a few expressed concern about how the expansion could lead to crowding, delays, and higher ticket prices.

Insights and Anecdotes about How the Changes Will Affect Their Lives

Some commuters who have worked around 53rd street said that it would change everything because their offices are in that region. Informing them about the new service is a highlighter to improve their commutes. Others expressed excitement over the possibility of getting their families involved and going on vacation, eliminating the need to drive into Penn Station with kids and lugging heavy bags around. It’s essential to note that the commuters we spoke with that expressed concerns outright caution that, like any massive infrastructure change, the expansion requires adjustments and compromise.

Diversity of Perspectives, From Enthusiastic to Skeptical

The interviews provided a range of insights, from commuters excited about the ease of access to those who are skeptical about the potential drawbacks of the new LIRR service to Grand Central. These varying perspectives provide a great insight into the different considerations that potential commuters may need to keep in mind.

A Brief History of LIRR Access to Grand Central

The LIRR’s relationship with Grand Central is long and complicated, with several factors contributing to the current state of transportation.

Overview of the LIRR’s Relationship with Grand Central

The LIRR originally operated out of Grand Central Terminal when it was known as Grand Central Station in the early 1900s. It then moved to Penn Station in 1910, where it has operated ever since. In 2006, the LIRR began work on the East Side Access project, intended to expand access to Manhattan’s East Side and bring direct LIRR service back to Grand Central.

Historical Context, Including Urban Planning and Political Factors

The history of LIRR’s access to Grand Central is intertwined with the urban planning and political factors that have shaped New York City over the past century. As the city expanded, the need for new transportation options grew, leading to the development of Grand Central Terminal and the expansion of Penn Station. Urban planning and political factors played a significant role in the LIRR’s relationship with these two central stations.

Implications for the Future of Mass Transit in NYC

The LIRR’s new service to Grand Central will have a significant impact on the future of mass transit in New York City. It signals a growing focus on expanding transportation options in the city, especially as more people return to work and look for efficient ways to get around. Additionally, the new service has the potential to transform which regions people can live in and still have easy access to Manhattan’s East Side, allowing them to experience different parts of the city.


The LIRR’s new service to Grand Central Terminal is an exciting development that offers new transportation options for many Long Island residents. This article has provided information about which LIRR lines will be affected, the pros and cons of the new service, how to navigate the changes, interviews with regular commuters, and a brief history of the LIRR’s relationship with Grand Central. Overall, it’s an excellent opportunity for commuters to try something new and enjoy the benefits of an expanded transportation network.

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