MANHATTAN, N.Y. (WABC) — The Long Island Railroad began running trains directly from Long Island to Grand Central-Madison for the first time this week, but the schedule had some unintended consequences, leading to angry passengers.

The picture of travel on Long Island this week was not pretty, with platforms jammed in Jamaica and some trains overcrowded. In one case, the guy was standing in the bathroom.

All because of the LIRR’s first major schedule change in generations.

On Monday The LIRR has increased its commuter schedule at Madison’s shiny new Grand Central, allowing Long Island commuters access to the East Side for the first time.

“We have very happy customers here at Grand Central Madison,” said LIRR President Cathy Rinaldi.

But Rinaldi admits that MTA planners have cut too much service at Pennsylvania Station on the west side, inconveniencing customers who were never interested in the east side.

“The trains are short,” said passenger Emil Samuels. “It used to be 10 car trains. Now there are eight. But what worries me is that they don’t keep in touch. This morning when we pulled into Jamaica with a packed train, there was an empty Pennsylvania train and it just closed its doors and left.”

The trains, which were overcrowded, have already been extended with extra carriages, and from next week they will be constantly rescheduling.

This is no easy feat post-Covid, with only 70% of the pre-pandemic passenger peak and patterns that were all over the place.

The MTA is asking its customers to be patient.

“One of the challenges is that we don’t see the same thing every day, so after COVID, Mondays and Fridays are quiet, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are a little bit busier,” Rinaldi said. “But what can we do with a train that is very, very crowded on a Tuesday and then not crowded at all on a Wednesday?

New York Governor Kathy Hochul chimed in.

“This is a temporary situation,” she said. “Any new redevelopment, the first new train station in over 100 years, so it will take a little while, but it’s very temporary.”

All train schedules are available through St Train Time program and online at


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