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LIRR Planning a Revised Cannonball Express Service

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For the first time ever, the MTA plans express service from Penn Station to Westhampton Beach on summer Friday nights that will zoom passengers to their weekend homes in just 94 minutes.

Also for the first time, the MTA is offering return express service on Sunday evenings.

For more than 100 years, The Cannonball has run to Westhampton from Hunters Point in Long Island City on summer Friday nights. Passengers from Penn Station could transfer to the train in Jamaica.

Now The Cannonball will depart Penn Station at 4:07 p.m. on Fridays and run non-stop to Westhampton. From there, they’ll continue eastward, making local stops all the way to Montauk.

The 94-minute express run from Penn Station to Westhampton Beach will be 37 minutes faster than the current service requiring a change in Jamaica.

The Cannonball is the only MTA train that has retained its traditional name.

For extra money, The Cannonball also offers Hamptons Reserve service, which includes reserved seating and attendants who serve beverages and snacks.

The MTA says it will announce more details of the service on Thursday.


How shall this service do...

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Only 94-minutes? I'll be planning a full on-board video!

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It's going to be lovely on that first Friday when someone gets on the train incorrectly and they're told they'll have a nice 6 hour layover in Westhampton.


At least the railroad is running 2712 out of HPA right after it at 4:29pm. That train will stop at Jamaica (to pick up connecting passengers), Bay Shore, Sayville, Patchogue, Bellport, Mastic-Shirley, Speonk, Westhampton (6:30pm), Hampton Bays, Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Amagansett, and Montauk (7:34pm).

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Awesome! Although it's sad to see they can't use HP anymore. Also, it would be nice if they'd let it stop at Jamaica so people from the east side don't have to backtrack to Penn first. But still awesome they keep the service nonetheless :)

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MTA Press Release gave more info on this: http://new.mta.info/lirr-operate-first-non-stop-service-manhattan-hamptons

New Yorkers looking for the fastest and most direct way to the Hamptons on summer Friday afternoons will find their dream ride leaving Penn Station aboard the Long Island Rail Road’s re-launched ‘Cannonball’ train, which will depart from Manhattan for the first time in LIRR history.

The Railroad’s fastest train to the East End will run non-stop from Manhattan, arriving 94 minutes later in Westhampton with follow up stops at Southampton, East Hampton, Bridgehampton and Montauk. That’s a one-seat, $27 ride from Midtown to Montauk with the reserved seating available for an extra charge.

The Cannonball will depart every Friday from Penn Station at 4:07 PM as a peak train, arriving in Westhampton by 5:41 PM, covering 76 miles in just one hour and 34 minutes. Then on Sunday evenings, the LIRR also will introduce the Cannonball (West), bringing customers back from Montauk to Penn Station, including a nonstop run from Westhampton to Jamaica and then on to Penn.

The new service is set to launch on Friday, May 24 and blast off again every week through the Labor Day weekend offering the added benefit of the LIRR’s Hamptons Reserve Service – a reserved seat and wait staff to pamper you – for an extra charge.

“There’s no better way to get from Manhattan to the Hamptons,” said LIRR President Helena E. Williams. “Our customers have long asked for a one-seat ride from Penn Station to the Hamptons and we are listening to them. This move eliminates the need to change trains with baggage at Jamaica.”

“This is a good move for the East End,” said MTA Board Member Mitch Pally. “The LIRR clearly is responding to increased customer demand for direct service to Suffolk County, especially in the summer months during the height of the tourist and vacation season. This will help the local economy.”

Hello Hamptons, Goodbye Traffic

In prior years, Cannonball service originated from the Hunterspoint Avenue Terminal in Long Island City. LIRR customers will still be able to catch other Montauk-bound trains at Hunterspoint Avenue on Thursday and Friday afternoons, with connecting service from Penn Station and Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. To alleviate crowding, extra LIRR trains have been added for this summer season on the Montauk branch through the Labor Day Weekend.

At Penn Station, customers will board comfortable, bi-level coaches powered by a dual-mode locomotive that will operate on electric power from Penn Station and later switch to diesel power. The designated platform for the Cannonball will be Track 19 out of Penn Station but customers are advised to listen for announcements at Penn Station in the event of a track change. The double-deckers are fully air conditioned with comfortable 2x2 seating on each level. Westhampton is the first stop at 5:41 PM., followed by Southampton at 6:03 PM, Bridgehampton 6:13 PM, East Hampton 6:25 PM and Montauk 6:48 PM. The Cannonball (East) will not stop at Hampton Bays or Amagansett.

‘Cannonball’ (West) Will Provide Return Service on Sunday Evening

On Sundays, the LIRR will introduce return Cannonball (West) service, leaving Montauk at 6:37 PM, East Hampton at 7:01 PM, Bridgehampton at 7:10 PM, Southampton at 7:20 PM, Hampton Bays at 7:31 PM and Westhampton at 7:39 PM. The train will then run express to Jamaica, arriving at 9:09 PM and complete its journey at Penn Station, arriving at 9:31 PM. Customers also will be able to reserve seats for an extra fee on the westbound Cannonball via the Hamptons Reserve service.

Customers are urged to consider buying roundtrip reserved tickets to ensure a seat on this popular train. To help achieve an on-time departure, Cannonball customers also are urged to arrive early at Penn Station and give themselves extra time to board. The LIRR reserves the right to restrict the number of standees on the Cannonball trains in order to maintain safety standards. Luggage also must be placed properly under seats or on overhead racks to avoid blocking doors, aisles and exits.

The Cannonball has a long history of service to the East End and was first introduced as an express train that operated between Long Island City and Southampton in the 1890s. Ferries transported Manhattanites to the Queens shore in the days before the construction of Penn Station and the East River Tunnels. The Cannonball is the only named train operated by the MTA and it makes the longest run on the MTA map, covering a distance of 117 miles from Manhattan to Montauk.

Improved Service for the East End

The new Cannonball service is part of a larger effort by the LIRR to improve Montauk service this season to meet growing demand. The LIRR’s Montauk Branch saw a 34% increase in summer ridership in 2012 compared to 2011.

“The East End and Fire Island are key tourist and vacation destinations and the Long Island Rail Road is continually looking for ways to better serve these important markets,” Williams said.

Montauk schedules have been revised and adjusted to close service gaps on weekends and to address growing demand for stations that serve customers taking ferries to Fire Island via Bay Shore, Sayville and Patchogue.

For example, a weekday eastbound train from Jamaica to Speonk has been added departing Jamaica at 12:43 PM. In addition, a westbound train has been scheduled from Speonk at 3:05 PM as an extension of an existing service that previously started from Patchogue. These new scheduled services will run weekdays from Memorial Day through Columbus Day.

Hamptons Reserve Service

Tickets for exclusive Hamptons Reserve Service are priced at $47 when purchased in advance. The package includes a one-way rail ticket for $27 plus a Hamptons Reserve seat charge of $20 allowing customers to enjoy reserved seating and the service of onboard attendants who serve snacks and beverages at their seats. Seat reservations must be made in advance and customers can make seasonal and weekly reservations for Hamptons Reserve Service. For more information or to join our mailing list go to www.mta.info/lirr/hamptons

Midtown to Montauk Service:

Cannonball (East) - Fridays only May 24-August 30 and on Wednesday, July 3

• Departs Penn Station every Friday at 4:07 PM, stopping at Westhampton at 5:41 PM, Southampton at 6:03 PM, Bridgehampton at 6:13 PM, East Hampton at 6:25 PM and Montauk at 6:48 PM. The Cannonball East will not stop at Hampton Bays or Amagansett.

Cannonball (West) - Sundays except on the Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekends when it will run on Monday. It will also run on Thursday, July 4.

• Departs Montauk at 6:37 PM, East Hampton at 7:01 PM, Bridgehampton at 7:10 PM, Southampton at 7:20 PM, Hampton Bays at 7:31 PM, Westhampton at 7:39 PM, Jamaica at 9:11 PM and arrives at Penn Station at 9:31 PM. The Cannonball West will not stop at Amagansett.

For More Information

Customers can find new Montauk timetables at terminals and at stations along the branch as well as the MTA website www.mta.info/lirr or by calling 511, the New York State Travel Information Line and saying “LIRR” If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use your preferred relay service provider on the free 711 relay to reach the LIRR at 511.

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I think this is a great idea, and a good way to compete with the one seat ride HJ offers. However I would like to see the LIRR add a stop at Hicksville to certain weekend Patchogue/Speonk/Montauk trains that use the main line between Jamaica and Babylon, but do not make any stops. Because of this unusual setup, one traveling from say, Hicksville, has to backtrack to Jamaica, or take a long bus ride to a station on the Babylon branch. Via Jamaica tickets often cost $5-$7 more. The Central Branch connection could be a valuable link for cross-island rail service, and many trains use it anyway, so what is the big deal with a stop in Hicksville when they pass thru at the restricted speed of 20mph or less?

It's great the LIRR is improving service out east for those in NYC, but what about us LI'ers?

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There's a whole culture of young people, booze and luggage all over the place on these summer hamptons trains. I wonder if this will kill that culture by bringing in older people who want a quiet ride. 

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