LIRR train East End
Fred Thiele wants to see East End rail service stepped up.

New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele has released a letter outlining numerous agreements made by the Long Island Rail Road in a closed-door meeting with East End lawmakers in Riverhead on July 8, including expanded South Fork commuter service and year-round weekend service for the North Fork.

In a letter from Mr. Thiele, North Fork Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo and State Senator Kenneth LaValle to MTA Long Island Rail Road President Patrick Nowakowski sent to the press by Mr. Thiele Tuesday, the lawmakers outlined a series of short-term and long-term actions agreed to by the LIRR in the meeting.

The short term actions include a commitment from the Long Island Rail Road to recommend the restoration of year-round weekend service to Greenport to the MTA board.

According to local real estate agents, Greenport has recently become a hot destination for New Yorkers, particularly those without cars, because of the village’s access to public transportation, a rarity on the East End. Weekend access by rail disappears after November, however, and doesn’t return until May.

Two trains from Penn Station (with connections) come into Greenport and three westbound trains leave Greenport on weekdays year-round.

The letter says South Fork elected leaders have also agreed to work with the LIRR to reinstate the “South Fork Commuter Connection,” which provided more commuter service between Speonk and Montauk during the morning and evening rush hours.

The short-term goals will be coordinated by the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association, in conjunction with state legislators, with the assistance of the East End Transportation Council and the Suffolk County Planning Commission.

The lawmakers also called on the LIRR and elected officials to work together on a long-range plan for the railroad, currently underway, which will examine public transportation needs through 2040.

The letter also acknowledges the importance of other public transportation linkages to East End railroad stations, and says the Suffolk County bus system “must be integrated into increased rail service and other public transit efforts.”

The full text of the letter is online here.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

One thought on “Thiele Outlines Plans For Expanded LIRR Service

  1. This is a wonderful development. Unfortunately it will have zero impact on the obnoxious (and literally noxious) helicopter and seaplane traffic to the Hamptons over the North Fork, which has gotten even worse this year. The Hamptons deliberately and snobbishly isolated themselves from the rest of Long Island when they rejected any road improvements, but this isolation has only increased their cachet, since only the very rich can afford to get there by air, at the expense of the peons literally beneath them on the North Fork. In a rational world the wealthy would support upgrades in the rail system, which on LI is no better than in the 1840s.

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