• LIRR Mainline Third Track Project

  • Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.
Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

  by bellstbarn
Thanks for the correction.
Everyone - Here is the 3TC update for September 2022
https://lirrexpansion.com/2022/09/01/up ... ember-2022

With the opening of two segments of new Track #2 from Floral Park to Nassau 3 east of Mineola being
the big news of August the emphasis now shifts eastward to the Carle Place and Westbury areas...

In the Floral Park section of the monthly update pages an older photo looking east from Platform B
at the site of what now is Park Interlocking was used - which surprised me...A more recent picture
showing the revised track layout at Park should have been used instead - or a "Before and After"
with two photos showing the changes may have been more appropriate...

Three weekend track outages were mentioned along with the prime segments which will see track work:
September 10-11: Roslyn Road to east of the Meadowbrook Parkway bridge
September 17-18: Denton Avenue to the Mineola Station area
September 24-25: Mineola to the Meadowbrook Parkway bridge area

In Steve Lynch's LIRR website back on August 12 a PDF *LIRR General Notice 1-12* effective Saturday August 13
was posted - there is 59 pages total with Main Line interlocking track layout drawings a good example -
This PDF can be found in his monthly August 2022 LIRR website update posted September 1.

There are now numerous changes in the Main Line Third Track Project being reported from month to month...
Will Track #2 be completed in the next 8 weeks from Mineola through Carle Place and Westbury?
From recent changes I noticed this past week in the area they have a legitimate chance provided
that there is not weather problems (as example) to create setbacks - the noticeably dry Summer
of 2022 has helped 3TC to stay "on track" to finish the project on time and under budget...MACTRAXX
  by Head-end View
ExCon90, I know that is the current Amtrak numbering on the Northeast Corridor. Are you sure that was also Pennsy's numbering scheme? Or did they number like the LIRR and maybe Amtrak changed the numbering when they took over in the 1970's.
  by ExCon90
No, Amtrak continued the PRR numbering. I started with the PRR in 1956 and have etts from that period. Even the tt directions were the same: from Zoo it was and remains eastward to New York, southward to Washington, and westward to Harrisburg. The principal change that Amtrak made was to shift the through passenger trains to the inside tracks, which are now numbered 2 north/eastward and 3 west/southward and provide continuous track numbering on the through tracks, even where there are only two. (Thus on double-track routes throughout the system, the Standard Railroad of the World ran eastbound on 1 and westbound on 2.). On the Corridor, moving the passenger trains to the inside tracks necessitated major track changes (by Amtrak) at various junction points to make the high-speed routes lead to and from 2 and 3 instead of 1 and 4 as previously.

The inside tracks on the Corridor were of course used by passenger trains when necessary to avoid conflicts with locals; when I was working in New York a co-worker who commuted from Metuchen mentioned one morning that he had witnessed an eastbound freight on 3 being overtaken by the Manhattan Limited on 2 just as his local was arriving on 1. (At that time only 2 and 3 were reverse-signaled, and that only as far as Trenton.)
  by Head-end View
Very interesting ExCon90; thank you!
  by MattAmity90
I saw in a friend of mine's YouTube where he filmed from the last car of a M3 through the fan window from Ronkonkoma to Jamaica, and what a change to the Main Line. Here's what I discovered:

1.) All three tracks from Hicksville to the West end of DIVIDE are in service (electrified and set). All poles from Hicksville to the Wantagh Parkway are wooden as is a stretch from East of Grand Blvd. to just East of School Street.
2.) The new third track has now been connected to the current track at DIVIDE and is electrified to a spot just West of Urban Avenue. A good portion of the track is electrified from new sidings that were replaced all the way to the temporary platform at Westbury.
3.) Ground foundation is taking place near Ellison Avenue, and unfortunately, the track has not been laid between Carle Place and Post Avenue.
4.) Track has been laid from West of Carle Place to NASSAU-3, hasn't been electrified, portions of it are set into the ballast. The track is electrified to NASSAU-3 Westward. Wooden poles encompass the route from Carle Place to Mineola.
5.) From what people told me, the new third track is only in service during the AM and PM rush hours. I don't know about you, but what is now MLT1 at Mineola needs rail/tie replacement with weed removal severely.
  by Head-end View
MattAmity90, all three tracks are in-service as far east as Nassau-3. It's possible that passenger trains only use the middle track during the rush hours. But this week I did see a freight train and a work train going thru Mineola on the middle track (1) at mid-day.
  by MattAmity90
Head-end View wrote: Sun Sep 04, 2022 6:40 pm MattAmity90, all three tracks are in-service as far east as Nassau-3. It's possible that passenger trains only use the middle track during the rush hours. But this week I did see a freight train and a work train going thru Mineola on the middle track (1) at mid-day.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that all three tracks are in service now from PARK to NASSAU-3. New Hyde Park & Merillon Avenue started with triple track service on August 15th, and then extended through Mineola on August 28th-29th obviously. I meant that portions of the new track between DIVIDE and NASSAU-3 that have been laid and balanced have third rail installed. Laying of the third track has reached the Cherry Lane bridge, but none has been laid between Cherry Lane to just East of Post Avenue.
I visited Carle Place and Westbury on Thursday 9/8 during the late afternoon PM Peak rush period.
Floral Park, Bellerose and Queens Village on Saturday 9/10 during the afternoon daytime hours.
Construction changes are occurring not only week to week - they are now day to day with activity along
the 10.1 mile route - there is progress being made with each weekend track outage at this point...

There are signs posted at Carle Place that trains using Track 2/Platform B will platform the head six cars on
the east end between Monday September 12 resumption of service until Friday September 30. The CPL plan
for this weekend is to remove half of the temporary Platform B - I noticed Track 2 ended two car lengths W
of the Cherry Lane Bridge (estimate) and then resumed under the east half of the temporary platform near
the door to the CPL overpass elevator. Track 2 continued eastward to about four carlengths E of the Ellison
Avenue Bridge...When the remaining six car temporary platform is removed Carle Place construction should
be completed as of the weekend of October 1-2.

Westbury is a construction zone with work ongoing - the two six-car sections of platform are on the west end.
The east end of the platforms and the two new overpasses are closed off - the two west sections of platform
each have a pedestrian ramp along with temporary access stairs - the center pedestrian underpass was open
and still useable even with notification that a five week closure is coming up. The E sidewalk under the Post
Avenue Bridge is (barely) useable by pedestrians - and should be avoided by individuals needing any ramp
access to the platforms...Track 2 is intact for the most part E of Westbury with some gaps to be closed up...
Westbury when completed will have FOUR separate places to cross over and under the tracks for pedestrians.

My stop at Floral Park was to take a look at the new Park Interlocking from the east end of Platform B.
The platforms at some point at least should be upgraded or possibly replaced and agree that should have
been part of the Third Track Project itself...Weekends are quiet at Floral Park and Bellerose with only the
hourly Hempstead Branch trains operating to and from Atlantic Terminal during ML outages.

I decided to walk between Floral Park, Bellerose and Queens Village on what turned out to be a nice late
Summer day - the walk 6/10 of a mile west on Atlantic Street between Floral Park and Bellerose took me
about 15 or so minutes - at Bellerose I noticed the platforms are in reasonable condition but could use
some work. There was track machines and workers present west of Bellerose. The hourly Hempstead
Branch trains were using only Track 2 in each direction at both stations without any schedule conflict.

My route west to Queens Village was to parallel the Main Line on Superior Road westward from Bellerose.
I first noticed that there is a roadway barricade at the Bellerose Village boundary with Bellerose Terrace -
Sidewalk access was no problem...It turned out that Elmont Station Platform A and vicinity was where
construction activity is ongoing with the almost-full closure of the Queens Interlocking track areas...

The big importance of using Superior Road was the bridge over the Cross Island Parkway to the west end
at 238th Street-then going one block north to 95th Avenue west until the intersection at 222nd Street and
Jamaica Avenue - then about half a mile westward to Springfield Boulevard and Queens Village Station.
My total walking time between Floral Park and Queens Village Stations took about 45 minutes to an hour.

At both Queens Village Station eastward towards Queens Interlocking and at Jamaica - Hall Interlocking
I noticed weed growth is becoming a significant noticeable problem - I understand that there are certain
chemicals that are used by railroads for weed control that have either been restricted or banned from use.
Is there a way to control problematic weed spreading in a safe manner to protect the health of RR workers
that undertake the job of controlling encroachment of weeds and plant undergrowth from railroad tracks?

In closing the Third Track Project is proceeding along well towards completion...The end of October 2022
is a goal that does look reachable to have the entire 10.1 mile third track ready for full service...MACTRAXX
Everyone - I visited Carle Place and Westbury during the PM Peak afternoon/evening hours on Thursday
September 15 - these changes to tracks and platforms were noted:

CARLE PLACE - The temporary platform on Track 1 was reduced to the east six cars with the west half
removed. On the east end of the new Platform B were bridge plates waiting to be placed into position
over Track 2 - 12 are needed to allow the first six cars to platform after the removal of the east section
of the temporary platform this weekend 9/17-18. The concrete ties on Track 2 have been placed with
about a one carlength gap (85-100 feet estimate) in the middle of the station between the sections...
The Track 2 segment going over the Cherry Lane Bridge westward had the south rail only in place...

WESTBURY - 12 Bridge plates are in place over Track 2 on the east half of Platform B.
The six car temporary platform over Track 2 in the west half of the station was still in use.
The pedestrian underpass was still open - with a notice that it is closed between 9:30 AM and 4:00 PM.
Track 2 now is continuous from where it ended previously east of the Ellison Avenue Bridge into the WBY
Station connecting with a previously placed section along Platform B.
Other construction status at WBY remained otherwise the same as one week previous.

September 17 - Stopped at Mineola Station and passed the closed Carle Place Station on Cherry Lane...

At CPL there were trucks being loaded with sections of removed temporary platforms parked on one lane
at the Cherry Lane Bridge - there was also a large crane present at track level...

At MINEOLA the wood tie section of Track 1 between the Roslyn Road Bridge and Nassau 1 is being replaced.
The Track-Laying System and machines were between Roslyn Road and Willis Avenue working westward.
There was also a line of LORAM ballast cleaner machines working ahead of the TLS at Mineola Station that
was clearly visible from the south-side parking garage over the NICE Bus terminal. The overhead bridge at
at this location over the tracks was open for pedestrian access to both sides - there were buses running
hourly between Mineola and Hempstead (and East Williston) for LIRR passengers as another alternate...

To prepare a wood tie segment of track in electrified territory for replacement by the TLS first the third rails
are removed along with their fibreglass protection boards. The short extra length of third rail tie that has the
bracket and insulator "seat" is cut off to match the length of standard crossties and then discarded separately.
A trench on either side of the track is dug at the tie ends around the height of the tie making removal easier.
The TLS places new replacement concrete ties down into the track bed and at the same time collects wood
ties from/to flat cars that are part of the TLS train. The current Track 1 rail-which looks to be 136 pound/yd
rail had been installed in the last 10-15 years-will be retained with this work. To complete the job the third
rail is placed on to fibreglass(?) plates that are bolted on to the concrete ties that support the insulator and
protection board bracket - the most important part is the electrical connecting work - which is completed
when the protection boards are finally put in place.

With practically day-by-day changes with the Third Track Project now being noted at various locations
getting the new Track 2 open at some point during October from Nassau 3 eastward towards Hicksville
is becoming even more likely - with favorable weather (example) a major contributing factor...
The Fall of 2022 is going to be a memorable one for the LIRR with full use of the new third track in October
along with ESA/GCTM opening during the first half of December...MACTRAXX
Everyone - There are new videos using a drone being posted at YouTube of the recent weeks 3TC construction
at Carle Place and Westbury showing changes to both stations along with ongoing trackwork at -
"LIRR: 3RD TRACK FLYOVERS" (the title IS in capital letters) - As of 9/21 there is 9 subscribers to the channel.
https://youtube.com/watch?v=zS-0mdEPg_A Part 1-9/17
There were three videos dated September 11 and three dated September 17 of the CPL-WBY area showing as an
example the installation of (12) bridge plates over Track 2 allowing the east six cars of trains to platform with the
removal of the remaining section of temporary platform at Carle Place in the three September 17 videos.
Good to see this interest in the 3TC program as the project moves along towards completion...MACTRAXX
  by MattAmity90
Saw a photo this past weekend with the bridges on the plates with the new Track 2 laid past Carle Place towards Ellison Avenue. Most likely they will connect the track from both directions somewhere between Ellison Avenue and Post Avenue. All that would need to be done is turn Track 2 into Electric Avenue by electrifying it.

My OCD was aching fierce with Track 1 in Mineola being wooden. When I saw Edward's photos of the new concrete ties, it was equal to ASMR. Even with all three tracks in service by the end of the year*, the amount of work that needs to be done at the stations will continue except for the platforms when it comes to lengths and passengers. Well, New Hyde Park, Merillon Avenue, and Carle Place have been fully completed. Afterwards, all they need to do is rip out the old wooden poles and replace them with new ones.

*Subject to change.
  by newkirk
Is it same to assume that NYA freights will use the center track when trains are not scheduled to use it ?
Everyone - Visited Carle Place and Westbury during the AM Peak period Friday September 23...

At CARLE PLACE the 12 bridge plates at Platform B have LIRR personnel on duty for trains using Track 1...
Track 2 is continuous and complete through both CPL and WBY - third rail is being installed from west to
east and is fully in place into the CPL Station area - third rail sections are along the track for placement up
to the Ellison Avenue Bridge - brackets and insulators are set in place - new protection boards are along the
track segment to be installed completing the physical third rail placement process...

WESTBURY is a construction zone - various work crews were reporting for duty at Westbury Station during
the 7 AM hour when I was there for the station construction project...The 12 bridge plates were placed back
on Platform B and were not in use - the 6 car temporary platform over the west end of Track 2 continues to
be in service. There is a notice for pedestrians to use the sidewalk under the Post Avenue Bridge when the
center underpass is closed (9:30 AM to 4:00 PM)...

One of the prime reasons to visit CPL and WBY was to see how many westbound trains used the opposite
track during what is now about a one hour period during the AM peak - I counted at least 8 trains during
that time which is primarily the 7 to 8 AM hour passing Westbury...With Mineola, Merillon Avenue and
New Hyde Park completed and all three tracks in service CPL and WBY still has the two track AM peak
service plan as has been previously operated without the added third track flexibility...

BM: Using center Track 1 during off-hours for through NYA freight trains makes perfect sense...MACTRAXX
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