The Long Island Rail Road is the busiest commuter railroad in North America, carrying an average of 301,000 customers each weekday on 735 daily trains. Chartered on April 24, 1834, it is also the oldest railroad still operating under its original name. Throughout that time, the LIRR has been an essential component of the region's transportation infrastructure, leading to the development of the Long Island communities it serves and providing a gateway to the economic growth of the region. A subsidiary of New York State's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Long Island Rail Road marked its
175th Anniversary in 2009.
The LIRR system is comprised of over 700 miles of track on 11 different branches, stretching from Montauk -- on the eastern tip of Long Island -- to the refurbished Penn Station in the heart of Manhattan, approximately 120 miles away. Along the way, the
LIRR serves 124 stations in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, providing service for over 80 million customers each year, taking them to and from jobs, homes, schools, sporting events, concerts, beaches, Broadway shows, and the multitude of other attractions around the New York metropolitan region.
Nearly 500 of the LIRR's daily trains originate or terminate at Penn Station in Manhattan. Most of the remainder originate or terminate at the newly renovated Atlantic Terminal (formerly Flatbush Avenue) in Brooklyn, with a number of others originating or terminating at Hunterspoint Avenue and Long Island City in Queens. All of these terminals provide convenient connections to MTA New York City Transit subway service. All but one of the LIRR's 11 branches pass through the important Jamaica hub, where customers may change trains to connect for other branches or terminals. Third-rail electric service is offered on the lines to Port Washington, Ronkonkoma, Babylon, Hempstead, Huntington, West Hempstead, Long Beach and Far Rockaway, and diesel service is provided on the lines to Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Montauk and Greenport.
A number of recent investments in the Railroad's infrastructure have brought improved service and added convenience to the Railroad's customers. All of the Railroad's new state-of-the-art M-7 electric cars have arrived, providing customers with improved levels of comfort and convenience. In addition, more than 65 LIRR stations throughout the system have been rehabilitated in recent years.
The Port Authority's AirTrain JFK provides a convenient light rail link between the LIRR's Jamaica hub and JFK International Airport. As part of this project, Jamaica Station underwent an extensive rebuilding, turning this important hub into a first-class transportation facility allowing fast, easy connections between LIRR trains, AirTrain JFK, and NYC Transit subway and bus service.
The Railroad is also preparing for the future: The East Side Access Project will eventually bring LIRR trains to Grand Central Terminal, allowing direct LIRR service to the east side of Manhattan.