Long Island Rail Road
LIRR logo
A LIRR train
Owner Metropolitan Transit Authority
Locale Manhattan
Long Island
Transit type Commuter rail
Number of lines 11
Stations 124
Daily ridership 354,800 (2016)
Annual ridership 89.3 million (2016)
Began operation 1834

The Long Island Rail Road, often abbreviated to the LIRR, is a commuter rail system in southeastern New York state, stretching from Penn Station in Manhattan to the eastern tip of Suffolk County on Long Island. With an average weekday ridership of 354,800 passengers in 2016, it is the busiest commuter railroad in North America.

The LIRR is also one of the world's few commuter systems that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round. The LIRR is publicly owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which refers to it as MTA Long Island Rail Road.

The LIRR contains 124 stations and more than 700 miles of track, totaling 319 miles of route. As of 2018, the LIRR's budgetary burden for expenditures was $1.6 billion, which it supports through the collection of taxes and fees.


The Long Island Rail Road Company was chartered in 1834 to provide a daily service between New York and Boston via a ferry connection between its Greenport, New York, terminal on Long Island's North Fork and Stonington, Connecticut. The LIRR was unprofitable for much of its history. In 1900, the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) bought a controlling interest as part of its plan for direct access to Manhattan which began on September 8, 1910. The wealthy PRR subsidized the LIRR during the first half of the new century, allowing expansion and modernization. Electric operation began in 1905.

After World War II, the railroad industry's downturn and dwindling profits caused the PRR to stop subsidizing the LIRR, and the LIRR went into receivership in 1949. The State of New York, realizing how important the railroad was to Long Island's future, began to subsidize the railroad in the 1950s and 1960s. In June 1965, the state finalized an agreement to buy the LIRR from the PRR for $65 million. The LIRR was placed under the control of a new Metropolitan Commuter Transit Authority.

The MCTA was rebranded the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1968 when it incorporated several other New York City-area transit agencies. With MTA subsidies the LIRR modernized further, continuing to be the busiest commuter railroad in the United States. The LIRR is one of the few railroads that has survived as an intact company from its original charter to the present


The LIRR consists of 11 branches, which use three main lines.

List of LIRR branches
Name Western Terminus Eastern Terminus Number of stations
Atlantic Atlantic Terminal Hollis 11
Babylon Valley Stream Babylon 15
Far Rockaway Locust Manor Far Rockaway 11
Hempstead Hollis Hempstead 9
Long Beach Centre Avenue Long Beach 6
Montauk Babylon Montauk 17
Oyster Bay Mineola Oyster Bay 11
Port Jefferson Floral Park Port Jefferson 17
Port Washington Woodside Port Washington 13
Ronkonkoma Hicksville Greenport 15
West Hempstead Valley Stream West Hempstead 6

System MapEdit

LIRR map

Fare structureEdit

Like Metro-North Railroad and NJ Transit, the Long Island Rail Road fare system is based on the distance a passenger travels, as opposed to the New York City Subway and the area's bus systems, which charge a flat rate. The railroad is broken up into eight non-consecutively numbered fare zones. Zone 1, the City Terminal Zone, includes Penn Station, all stations in Brooklyn, and all stations in Queens west of Jamaica or Mets–Willets Point. Zone 3 includes Jamaica and Mets–Willets Point, as well as all other stations in eastern Queens except Far Rockaway. Zones 4 and 7 include all stations in Nassau County, plus Far Rockaway in Queens. Zones 9, 10, 12 and 14 include all stations in Suffolk County. Each zone contains many stations, and the same fare applies for travel between any station in the origin zone and any station in the destination zone. The LIRR will use OMNY in the future.

Rolling StockEdit


Planned LIRR expansionEdit

The East Side Access project is building a LIRR spur to Grand Central Terminal that will run in part via the existing 63rd Street Tunnel. The project will add a new eight-track terminal underneath the existing Grand Central Terminal. The project was first proposed in the 1968 Program for Action, but due to various funding shortfalls, construction did not start until 2007. As of April 2018, the project was expected to cost $11.1 billion and was tentatively scheduled to start service in December 2022.

See AlsoEdit

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