The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) announced that they have plans to increase the length of the platforms at the Forest Hills and Kew Gardens LIRR stations.
The platforms at each station currently allows the first four cars of a train onto the platforms. The new length will allow each station to accommodate the first six train cars.
“We’re committed to improving conditions for our Queens customers, and this will make boarding and exiting trains less congested, faster and more pleasant at both stations,” said Phillip Eng, LIRR president. “We’re taking a new, expedited approach, making improvements quickly to current needs with lower cost yet sturdy materials, while we evaluate a longer-term, permanent solution.”
Currently, the average weekday ridership at Forest Hills and Kew Gardens stations are 1,967 passengers and 1,778, respectively. Both stations have two side platforms north and south of the tracks, and extending both platforms at each station by 200 feet is expected to help reduce crowding and delays as well as allowing trains to to exit the stations more easily.
“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 said. “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.”
Preparation for work at each station is expected to start this week. Temporary construction-related changes at each station will be announced as the start of construction approaches. All work on each platform will be performed by LIRR personnel and staff is currently analyzing the project to find a completion date and cost.
“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,” said state Senator Joseph P. Addabbo. “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.”