Additional LIRR Service for Pope Francis' Visit to NY
Be Prepared for Street Closures & Entrance/Exit Closures at Penn
Pope Francis will arrive in New York on Thursday, September 24, and will have a full schedule of events across the city on Friday, September 25, including an evening Mass at Madison Square Garden. The LIRR plans to operate normal AM and PM Peak train service to/from Penn Station on Thursday and Friday, supplemented by some extra Off-Peak trains on Friday, September 25 (see below for details).
However, customers should keep the following factors in mind when planning their commute:
- For security reasons, certain entrances, exits and stairways at Penn Station will be closed, and vehicular/pedestrian traffic will be prohibited on a number of streets surrounding the station. In addition, numerous bus lines are being rerouted. The LIRR’s 34th Street Entrance and the Amtrak Entrance at 32nd Street and Seventh Avenue under the MSG marquee are expected to remain open. Customers should expect heavier-than-normal volume at these access points. MTA Police and additional LIRR staff will be available in Penn Station to direct and assist customers.
- Access to the Pope’s events is strictly limited to ticket-holders; those without tickets are advised to avoid the areas the Pope is visiting. People who can avoid traveling into Manhattan on those days should do so, since street closures will result in traffic congestion and pedestrian diversions.Consider traveling to/from Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn instead, where there are subway connections to the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q and R subway lines.
- Within Penn Station, normal subway access will be available and unrestricted. We anticipate that the LIRR’s Main Gate area will see a higher volume of customers. However, there are less traveled passageways in Penn Station that may minimize your inconvenience. See below for a map that displays these alternate routes:
The LIRR will operate eight extra westbound trains to Penn Station on Friday, including three leaving Babylon at 12:20 PM, 12:43 PM and 1:20 PM; two departing Huntington at 12:19 PM and 1:19 PM; one leaving Hicksville at 1:07 PM; and two departing Ronkonkoma at 12:40 PM and 1:40 PM. Extra eastbound trains will be on standby at Penn Station to carry travelers back to Long Island on Friday night at the conclusion of the Papal Mass. Customers taking the LIRR to papal events should buy Round-Trip train tickets and MetroCards in advance at outlying stations, allow extra travel time and expect some crowding.
Taxi Stand Relocated
The Taxi Stand on Seventh Avenue, in front of Madison Square Garden, will be relocated due to street closures.
Lost & Found Office
The LIRR’s Lost & Found Office in Penn Station will be closed on Friday, September 25.
- Access to/from Penn Station will be most restricted between 5:00 – 8:30 PM during the Papal Mass at Madison Square Garden
- Consider traveling to/from Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. It will be less congested than Penn Station and features connections to the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q and R subway lines
- Allow plenty of extra travel time
- Leave any unnecessary bags, backpacks or packages at home. For a list of prohibited items, see below
- Remember to take all belongings with you when you leave the train to avoid delays related to unattended packages
- Buy Round-Trip LIRR tickets and MetroCards in advance at outlying stations
- Avoid buying October monthly tickets in Penn Station on September 25, as lines will be long
- Listen for announcements regarding service changes. Call the LIRR’s Customer Service Center at 511 or 718-217-5477 for assistance
- This plan is subject to change
As a security precaution, the following items will not be allowed into Papal events in New York City. Surrendered items will not be returned, or available for pick-up. If traveling to/from Penn Station on Thursday or Friday, September 24-25, you can avoid inconvenience by leaving the following items at home:
- Animals other than service/guide dogs
- Backpacks exceeding size restrictions
- Signs exceeding size restrictions
- Signs cannot be made of anything except cardboard, poster board or cloth
- Hard sided coolers (soft side thermal coolers are allowed)
- Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems
- Glass, thermal, or metal containers
- Laser pointers
- Mace/pepper spray
- Selfie sticks
- Supports for signs and placards
- Toy guns
- Weapons of any kind
- Any other item deemed to be a potential hazard
Prior to the Pope’s visit, travelers are encouraged to check news and traffic reports, and sign up for text/email alerts about changing transit conditions.
You can sign up for LIRR alerts at www.mymtaalerts.com
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