LIRR begins Grand Central Madison service. Here's what to expect.

Full Long Island Railroad service to the new Grand Central Madison station has begun. 

The project has taken $11 billion and more than 20 years, but it's finally here, allowing riders access to the East Side, without the hassle of having to go through Penn Station on the West Side.  

"The average New Yorker is asking himself, why did it take so [Expletive] long?," joked Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Schumer gathered Sunday with Gov. Kathy Hochul and MTA Chair Janno Lieber to celebrate the first extension of the LIRR in 112 years by riding the new route from Grand Central Madison to Jamaica on one of the nearly 300 trains available seven days a week.

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"It's reliable," said Gov. Hochul. "You know you’re going to get home to catch that game, you know you're going to get to work on time."

The MTA is boasting a 41% increase in service, including more frequent trains to the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Connecticut – a reverse commuting surge that will be a shot in the arm for Long Island employers, and a shiny new 700,000 square foot station underneath Grand Central, 15 stories beneath Madison Avenue – stretching from 48th to 43rd streets.  

"A lot of people who work in the area who used to go to Penn station," said one rider. "They're actually going to take advantage of coming here." 

"It's a long time coming for the East and West side to be tied together," said another rider.  

The MTA is eliminating scheduled connections at Jamaica station, and trains going to Grand Central means less trains at Penn Station. Oyster Bay riders say the new stop only extends their commute. Their petition to improve service is hovering around 1,600 signatures. 

The station will be closed every day from 2 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. During those hours, all Long Island Rail Road service will go to Penn Station. 

You can learn more and find schedules here.