MTA LIRR Double Track Project - Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale

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MattAmity90
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Re: MTA LIRR Double Track Project - Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale

Post by MattAmity90 » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:27 pm

During the weekend outage in which the trestle for Urban Avenue was installed to eliminate that grade crossing, Ronkonkoma Branch service is one step closer to having a fully refurbished Track 1 due to rail/tie replacement work. As of this weekend:

Ronkonkoma: BOTH TRACKS IN SERVICE.
Central Islip: BOTH TRACKS IN SERVICE.
-(Reduced to single track service at CI Interlocking)
Brentwood: TRACK 2/PLATFORM B IN SERVICE.
Deer Park: TRACK 2/PLATFORM B IN SERVICE.
-(Reduced to single track service at JS Interlocking)
Wyandanch: BOTH TRACKS IN SERVICE.
Pinelawn: BOTH TRACKS IN SERVICE.
Farmingdale: BOTH TRACKS IN SERVICE.
Bethpage: BOTH TRACKS IN SERVICE.
Hicksville: ALL 3 TRACKS IN SERVICE.

After Track 1 is completely refurbished, work will begin on Track 2 from where BRENT was located to JS Interlocking. Service at Brentwood and Deer Park will move to TRACK 1/PLATFORM A.
This station is Babylon, this is the train to Penn Station. Stopping at: Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Massapequa, Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside, Penn Station.

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Re: MTA LIRR Double Track Project - Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale

Post by Trainmaster5 » Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:26 pm

Perhaps the rail, tie replacements are the reason for the traffic tie up in Brentwood this afternoon. At approximately 3:30 PM I was headed s/b on Washington Avenue on my way to Bay Shore. Approaching Suffolk Avenue/Brentwood Rd there was an MTA police car blocking the intersection and beyond that the crossing gates were down and a consist of flat cars were visible. Unfortunately the next two cross streets had lowered gates so everyone was forced to the Wicks Road crossing to the west. After navigating through a shopping center parking lot I was able to find a way to cross the tracks. Two hours later on my return trip work was still being done and this time I had to go east to Central Islip to cross Suffolk Avenue. My question is " is this the normal procedure for this type of work ", keeping in mind the location and the time of day? Besides the traffic conditions there's also a major bus transfer point just west of the station and work area. Unless it's an emergency situation I don't think work should be done at 6 PM. It was Peak hours when I returned and, according to the website, there were no delays on the Ronkonkoma branch at the time. Of course anyone getting off the train at Brentwood couldn't get a bus or leave the parking lot because of the traffic backups east and westbound at the time. Surely this could have been better coordinated?

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Re: MTA LIRR Double Track Project - Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale

Post by MattAmity90 » Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:03 am

I looked at how long it took them to do the rail/tie replacement of Track 1 from FARM to JS, and from CI to where the new track and existing North track met. It only took them four to five weeks to complete those sections. Believe me I would be ticked off, and I saw that with the buildup of traffic at Wicks Road (which is one of the most hazardous on the KO Branch). I would say by Labor Day Track 1 will be rehabilitated, but then they have to shift gears since they will be doing the same to Track 2 where the new track meets the existing South track to JS. All the work should be completed to coincide with the Urban Avenue and Covert Avenue projects completed where traffic will reopen. Edward Hand usually photographs in Brentwood, but when he has additional time, he will actually go to other locales, I mean he is my go-to guy that helped me keep track of the Double Track Project.
This station is Babylon, this is the train to Penn Station. Stopping at: Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Massapequa, Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside, Penn Station.

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Re: MTA LIRR Double Track Project - Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale

Post by MattAmity90 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:45 am

Ronkonkoma Branch rail/tie replacement work update through the first week of August.

In the vicinity of Brentwood, BRENT is officially gone with no evidence that an interlocking switch once existed there. The refurbished track has been laid in the trench from CI Interlocking to as far as I'm concerned Brentwood Road. Photos at Deer Park show that Track 1 has not seen any of the ties or old rail scrapped, ballast vacuumed both at the station and East of Executive Drive. There is a rail vehicle at JS acting as a block to let engineers know that Track 1 is out of service for Deer Park and Brentwood from JS to CI.

It usually takes a month to complete the process, but I would expect in the next few weeks the ballast will be suitable for track support, then the third rail will be installed and connected to both interlockings. As soon as that is completed, they will work on Track 2 at Deer Park and Brentwood from JS to where BRENT was located (transition of wood ties to concrete ties of the new track).
This station is Babylon, this is the train to Penn Station. Stopping at: Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Massapequa, Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside, Penn Station.

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Re: MTA LIRR Double Track Project - Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale

Post by MattAmity90 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:19 pm

The third rail department has started laying the third rail methodically along the stretch of track in Brentwood. It was a hectic weekend for KO customers because Brentwood Road, Second Street, and Fourth Street we're closed to vehicular traffic but train service on Track 2 continued without interruptions. All three grade crossings were rehabilitated essentially, but most importantly work for Track 1 is wrapping up. It has been laid, manicured, and now the third rail is being laid from CI Interlocking to JS Interlocking. My expectation is that work will wrap up and be completed by Labor Day Weekend.

As soon as this wraps up, Track 2 will see rehabilitation from JS to site of where BRENT was located (area of wood ties meeting concrete ties when the new second track was constructed). The only question I have is that both tracks from CI Interlocking to POND have concrete ties (Central Islip to POND Track 2 was converted earlier this year), but will they be doing rail/tie replacement for both tracks East of the Pond Road grade crossing into Ronkonkoma station?
This station is Babylon, this is the train to Penn Station. Stopping at: Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Massapequa, Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside, Penn Station.

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Re: MTA LIRR Double Track Project - Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale

Post by MattAmity90 » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:49 pm

A new batch of Edward Hand's anticipated photos that I look forward to everyday have been posted on Flickr. The entire stretch of Track 1 from JS to CI has undergone the rail/tie replacement rehab. Third rail covers are back on over the third rail that was reinstalled for the track, and everything seems to be in order for service.

Now, he photographed one of those new monoliths (those stanchions near ramps) that said the 6:45 PM Westbound train to Penn Station scheduled to arrive on TRACK 1 will instead arrive on TRACK 2. Was Track 1 put back into service this week or is it still out? Can anyone confirm that for me please?

Next trackwork will be rail/tie replacement and rehab to Track 2 from JS to the former site of BRENT (new track connected to original concrete to wood). Still no word if any trackwork will be done with rail/tie at Pond Road to Ronkonkoma.
This station is Babylon, this is the train to Penn Station. Stopping at: Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Massapequa, Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside, Penn Station.

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Re: MTA LIRR Double Track Project - Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale

Post by MattAmity90 » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:04 am

Ronkonkoma Branch trackwork with rail/tie replacement and tracks in service:

Track 1 has seen service restored as the rehab and replacement from JS to CI was completed. Even though the WB track is now back in service, Brentwood & Deer Park will still be seeing single-track service. Work should be getting underway or is at the ready for Track 2 from JS to where BRENT was located before the Double Track Project. Ronkonkoma and Central Islip have both tracks in service, Brentwood and Deer Park only have Track 1 in service, but for stations Wyandanch and Points West both tracks are in service. At the rate they are doing the rail/tie work for any length of track, this should be completed by the end of September seeing that it has only taken about one month to do the necessary work. Afterwards, I don't know if any further trackwork will be done on the branch.
This station is Babylon, this is the train to Penn Station. Stopping at: Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Massapequa, Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside, Penn Station.

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Re: MTA LIRR Double Track Project - Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale

Post by MattAmity90 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:47 am

Trackwork for Track 2 has commenced with the Third Rail Department removing the electrified rail all the way from JS to the former site of BRENT. The railroad construction vehicle known as "Little Giant" was making the rounds. Both new rails are now outside the gauge and a LORAM will probably take care of that. Unfortunately two mistakes need to be fixed on Track 1 that they spray-painted. One of the steel rods that sticks up from the insulators that the third rail sits upon is bent severely causing the cover to be frayed a bit. The second issue is that an insulator wasn't put in place to support the third rail leaving very little room for the train's shoes. Edward's photos also showed the train's boots just off the third rail as if it was grinding along it. Issues have been acknowledged, and will be corrected hopefully soon since Brentwood and Deer Park are the only two Ronkonkoma Branch stations seeing only single-track service. As far as the rest of the newly placed Track 1, every nut/bolt/fastener is tightened to within the railroad construction code. :wink:
This station is Babylon, this is the train to Penn Station. Stopping at: Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Massapequa, Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside, Penn Station.

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Re: MTA LIRR Double Track Project - Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale

Post by MattAmity90 » Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:13 am

Third rail has been removed, ballast has been vacuumed, and wooden ties are being ripped at this moment. There is also two gaffes that were made when replacing Track 1.

LORAM, Little Giant, and Magnet cars have been prepping rails and ties along the ROW of Track 2 with the magnet picking up old rivets and other debris. At Brentwood, the work stops precisely at the new second track from the Double-Track Project so much so that the section has the third rail installed. It is going swimmingly with several crews working in sections while service continues on Track 1 through Deer Park and Brentwood. Six grade crossings are involved in the stretch so that factors in.

I mentioned two gaffes they made on Track 1, and both occurred in Brentwood. First at the station, a third rail bracket support that supports the cover was bent severely and despite being bent back into shape it still looks hazardous. The second is the fact that every third tie there is the white insulators that the third rail lies on. One of them was not put on the tie leaving an unsupported third rail for about 5 ties, and it is clear as day when you see the circle outline where the insulator should have been placed. The insulator is located next to the brackets on the ballast in between the two third rails.
This station is Babylon, this is the train to Penn Station. Stopping at: Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Massapequa, Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside, Penn Station.

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Re: MTA LIRR Double Track Project - Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale

Post by MattAmity90 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:34 am

Progress on the rail/tie replacement from JS to the former site of BRENT.

Over the past few days, construction vehicles the LORAM and Little Giant continued their duties. Rail cutting was done at all the grade crossings in Brentwood, and now the entire stretch has been replaced with new rails atop concrete rail ties completing that critical aspect thanks to the TCM. All that is left to do is A.) Ballast the stretch and B.) Install the third rail. Afterwards both tracks from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma (at least to Pond Road) will be brand new! All wooden ties have been put on top of the TCM's front cars to be hauled off I'm guessing for firewood for the upcoming winter. All of the evidence has been documented by Edward Hand.

Service reliability should improve drastically, this will provide a smoother ride, reduce the chances of broken rails drastically, and IMO increase the amount of skip-stops and express trains.
This station is Babylon, this is the train to Penn Station. Stopping at: Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Massapequa, Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside, Penn Station.

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