2018-08-22 / Front Page

LIRR to Lengthen Platforms at Forest Hills and Kew Gardens

Long Island Rail Road President Phillip Eng announced on August 19 that the LIRR plans to lengthen the platforms at Forest Hills and Kew Gardens by 50 percent, to accommodate six cars of a train, up from the current four.

Both stations have two side platforms north and south of the tracks. The railroad will extend both platforms at Forest Hills and both platforms at Kew Gardens 200 feet westward using steel scaffolding structures supporting fiberglass decking.

“We’re taking a new, expedited approach to making improvements quickly, with lower cost yet sturdy materials,” said Eng. “We’re committed to improving conditions for our Queens customers. This will make boarding and exiting trains less congested, faster, and more pleasant for customers at both stations.”

“With the high ridership at these stations, we are experiencing train delays as customers must walk from car to car to be able to reach a door at a platform,” Eng continued. “Because these two stations are at a busy section of the railroad, those delays can cause trains behind to be delayed as well. Longer platforms should speed up our main line service for all customers traveling between Penn Station and Jamaica.”

Generally, the first four cars of LIRR trains currently open at both platforms. This change will allow the first six cars to meet the platform at both stations. LIRR trains can be up to 12 cars long.

Preparation work at both sites began the week of July 23. All work will be performed by LIRR personnel. Staff are analyzing the project to identify a completion date and cost.

Efforts will be made to ensure that the platforms respect the historic character of both stations and minimize impact to train service at both stations. Any temporary construction-related changes at either station will be announced closer to the start of construction work.

Forest Hills and Kew Gardens are the 51st and 56th busiest of the LIRR’s 124 stations, respectively, with average weekday ridership at Forest Hills of 1,967 passengers and 1,778 at Kew Gardens.

NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. said, “It is great to see that the Long Island Rail Road is taking active measures to safely help speed up trips for the thousands of residents that use the LIRR on a daily basis in Forest Hills and Kew Gardens. By extending the platforms at these two stations, passengers will have an easier egress off of the train, reducing delays and making a better trip for everyone. I look forward to seeing the final results once construction is finished.”

NYC Council Member Karen Koslowitz said, “The Kew Gardens and Forest Hills stations, because they can only accommodate the length of four railroad cars, present difficulties for commuters. I am gratified that the LIRR will be addressing this issue by extending the platforms of these two stations to provide for six cars.”

The Forest Hills Gardens Corporation was notified before LIRR began mobilizing last weekend work would be taking place from 8 pm to 5 am.

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