Jamaica (LIRR station)

Jamaica (LIRR station)

Infobox Station

image_caption=Looking west at Jamaica
platforms= 5
tracks= 8
line=Long Island Rail Road:
Main Line;rail color box|system=LIRR|line=Belmont Parkrail color box|system=LIRR|line=Hempsteadrail color box|system=LIRR|line=Oyster Bayrail color box|system=LIRR|line=Port Jeffersonrail color box|system=LIRR|line=Ronkonkoma
Atlantic Branch; rail color box|system=LIRR|line=Far Rockawayrail color box|system=LIRR|line=Long Beach
Montauk Branch;rail color box|system=LIRR|line=West Hempsteadrail color box|system=LIRR|line=Babylon
other=New York City Subway:
NYCS-bull-small|ENYCS-bull-small|JNYCS-bull-small|Z at Sutphin Boulevard–Archer Avenue–JFK Airport
AirTrain JFK
New York City Transit buses:
Q24, Q30, Q31, Q43, Q44, Q54, and Q56
Long Island Bus: N4
rebuilt=1913, 2001-2006
owned=Long Island Rail Road

Jamaica Station (often referred to simply as Jamaica) is the major hub and headquarters of the Long Island Rail Road, and is located in Jamaica, Queens, New York City. It is the largest transit hub on Long Island and is one of the busiest railroad stations in the country with over 200,000 daily passengers. In the New York City area it ranks only behind Pennsylvania Station, Grand Central Terminal, and Secaucus Junction, with over 1,000 trains passing through it every day. It has a direct rail connection to John F. Kennedy International Airport via AirTrain JFK. There are also elevator connections to the Archer Avenue Line of the New York City Subway at Sutphin Boulevard–Archer Avenue (NYCS Archer), directly below. The area just outside is served by the Q24, Q30, Q31, Q43, Q44, Q54, Q56, and N4 bus routes, with more available within a few blocks of the station.

All LIRR services except the Port Washington Branch pass through Jamaica Station. The Main Line westwards leads to Long Island City and Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, while the Atlantic Branch diverges along Atlantic Avenue to Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. The Montauk Branch also serves one daily train to/from Long Island City. East of Jamaica, these three lines diverge, with some branch services using the Main Line, some using the Atlantic Branch, and some using the Montauk Branch.

Because of its central location on all but one of the services, it is common for commuters to have to "change at Jamaica", meaning switch from one train to another heading for his or her final destination. "Change at Jamaica" is common lingo among LIRR riders.

The main entrance to the station, where tickets may be purchased and where waiting areas are located, is a 100-year old building that also serves as the offices and headquarters of the Long Island Rail Road Company.


Jamaica Station was originally built between 1912 and 1913 as a replacement for two other former stations in Jamaica. The first was the LIRR's original Jamaica Station(“Old Jamaica”), c. 1836 as the terminus of the LIRR. It was remodeled in 1869 and again in 1872, only to be completley rebuilt between 1882-83 adjacent to and in use concurrently with the original depot. Covered platforms were later installed. The other station was known as Jamaica-Beaver Street and built by the South Side Railroad of Long Island for the Atlantic Branch. This depot opened on October 28, 1867, then was razed in 1871, and replaced on Christmas Day of the same year.

When the LIRR acquired the SSRRLI, the depot was moved to the south side of Beaver Street crossing on a stub track. Low platforms for this station stop were located on the north side of Beaver Street crossing. Timetables of the period show station stop as “Jamaica” for Atlantic Branch trains bound for Locust Avenue, Springfield, and Valley Stream, as “Old Southern Road" Station. From 1908-1913, the station stop was listed as “Jamaica(Beaver Street).”

Both stations were discontinued as station stops. "Old" Jamaica station was razed in 1912 with the grade elimination project, while Jamaica-Beaver Street Station was razed with the grade elimination in 1913, and relocation into the current Jamaica Railroad complex.

Configuration and operation

Jamaica functions as the operational hub for the system. The platforms at Jamaica are designed to facilitate the arrival of several trains at once. During the morning rush, westbound trains, originating from one of three lines and heading to one of the three New York terminals, are scheduled to arrive at Jamaica simultaneously on tracks 1, 2, and 3. Passengers can then cross over to the platform containing their train heading to their destination terminal by either utilizing stairs or passing through the train on track 2. In the evening commute, this process is reversed. Eastbound trains originate at one of the New York terminals destined for one of the branch lines. These trains arrive on tracks 6, 7, and 8 and allow commuters to cross over to the desired outbound train. The middle tracks – 4 and 5 – share a single platform which is utilized during both the morning and evening rush hours to provide passengers ability to transfer to their destination train on the other side of the platform.


In 2006, the MTA completed a $387 million renovation project, begun in 2001 and carried out in conjunction with the construction of AirTrain JFK's terminal (the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey contributed $100 million toward the project).

The project had two goals: Passenger-oriented renovations included new platforms and pedestrian bridge, a central elevator bank linking the LIRR to the street and to the Sutphin Blvd subway station, a new mezzanine connecting to AirTrain and a new steel and glass canopy over the elevated tracks. [LIRR Press Release August 9, 2006] The focal point of the project was the Jamaica Control Center, built by Tishman Construction Corporation and Bechtel. The JCC houses the LIRR offices, railroad control center and MTA Police. [Buildings.com] Overall, the renovations enlarged the station and have made it more modern and efficient, providing easier access to all eight LIRR tracks. The entire station complex, including AirTrain and the subway, is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The project was named "2006 Project of the Year" by the Long Island branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers. [ [http://www.ascemetsection.org/content/view/167/785/ ASCE Metropolitan Section] ]

ee also

*Long Island Rail Road
*East Side Access
*Lower Manhattan-Jamaica/JFK Transportation Project


* [http://www.panynj.gov/AboutthePortAuthority/InvestorRelations/AnnualReport/pdfs/2001_Annual_Report.pdf Port Authority Annual Report 2001]

External links

* [http://www.mta.info/lirr MTA Long Island Rail Road]
* [http://lirr42.mta.info/stationinfo.asp?station=015 MTA-LIRR Official Jamaica Station Website]
* [http://www.lirrhistory.com/jamaica.html LIRR History website]
* [http://subwaynut.com/lirr/jamaica/index.html Jamaica Station (The SubwayNut)]
* [http://www.buildings.com/Articles/detail.asp?ArticleID=3372 Buildings.com]

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