March 30, 2009
LIRR Celebrates 175th Anniversary of Service
As part of the year-long celebration of its 175th anniversary, MTA Long Island Rail Road recently hosted a Customer Appreciation Day at Penn Station in Manhattan. LIRR is holding monthly events, offering commuters a chance to win tickets to such activities as Broadway shows and hockey games.
LIRR received its charter on April 24, 1834, only nine years after the introduction of rail travel. It is the oldest railroad in the U.S. still operating under its original name, and the busiest commuter railroad in North America.
“When we were first chartered in 1834, it is doubtful our founders envisioned what we would become 175 years later: the largest commuter railroad in North America, serving 87.4 million customers on more than 700 miles of track stretching from Penn Station to Montauk, and many communities in between,” said LIRR President Helena Williams. “This great enterprise—kept strong by our proud workforce of 6,800—has served as an economic engine for Long Island and for the entire New York metropolitan region, getting customers safely and quickly to and from work, leisure activities and other destinations, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
LIRR now provides service on 11 different branches, covering a distance of approximately 120 miles from the eastern tip of Long Island to the heart of Manhattan. It has 124 stations in Nassau and Suffolk counties, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.
As part of the anniversary observance, the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn is hosting a commemorative exhibition, “Route of the Dashing Commuter: The Long Island Rail Road at 175,” from April 14 through Sept. 13. The exhibition uses artifacts, photographs, video, and archival material to show how LIRR helped turn Long Island from an idyllic farming community to one of the nation’s premier suburbs.
The museum will also highlight current LIRR efforts, including the East Side Access tunnel construction project, which when complete will bring Long Island commuters into Grand Central Terminal.
Information on the transit museum’s exhibit is available online.