Two-way service for Elmont-UBS Arena station

Kepherd Daniel

Originally published in LI Herald

The Elmont-UBS Arena Station — the first new Long Island Rail Road station in almost 50 years — could now accommodate both eastbound and westbound trains on days the UBS Arena will hold events.

The new station will begin full-time, year-round service by the end of the year, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Oct. 6.

Long Islanders who live east of Belmont Park will have a one-seat ride straight to UBS Arena, reducing travel times and thus increasing the number of commuters who use public transportation to get to UBS Arena while helping alleviate traffic congestion on Long Island. Those traveling from New York City could now directly return after events on many trains without the need to board a shuttle bus to Queens Village Station that had been offered last year.

“Having both modern, accessible platforms open at the world-class Elmont-UBS Arena Station is a victory for Long Island and the State of New York,” Hochul said. “New Yorkers will now enjoy a smoother ride to and from Islanders games and concerts, and I look forward to continuing to bring transformative projects like this one to all corners of the Empire State.”

Construction of the new station comes at zero cost to the LIRR and MTA. Arena developers and New York State partnered to fully finance the estimated $105 million project. Of the total cost, the arena developers paid more than 90 percent, with New York State contributing the rest. The state’s contribution is a fraction of the new tax revenue the project is expected to generate. This project shows the transformation that public-private partnerships can have on public transportation, officials said.

Elmont-UBS Arena Station features two 12-car-long, high-level platforms with canopies, USB charging stations, Help Points, security cameras, digital signs with train arrival information, Wi-Fi, and a state-of-the-art snow melting system embedded in the concrete of the platforms to ensure they remain free of snow and ice during winter storms.

“The new Elmont Station is a critical investment in our community that will let Islander fans take the train to the game, and finally give residents in the neighborhood a full-time stop on the LIRR main line,” State Sen. Anna Kaplan said. “The new station is a shining example of the great things that we can accomplish when we invest in infrastructure on Long Island, and it’s a testament to all the workers who showed up throughout the pandemic to get it done on time and on budget.”

Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages said, “With the start of two-way event day service at the LIRR Elmont-UBS Arena Station, we are one step closer to fully realizing a long-cherished goal on behalf of residents. From its inception, we’ve strived to make this redevelopment project a positive experience for the community of Elmont, and these changes will only enhance the overall efficiency and convenience of the LIRR. We’re excited for this one-seat ride to events and are looking forward to having a full-service station that commuters can depend on year-round.”

Elmont-UBS Arena Station began service to coincide with the New York Islanders’ first home game in November 2021 at the brand-new UBS Arena. The venue has made additional capital investments to the surrounding area near the station and on its campus, officials said.

UBS Arena will also be working alongside team and venue partners to offer a variety of different incentives for fans to encourage them to take the train to UBS Arena throughout the season, officials added. When LIRR service to Grand Central Madison — a commuter rail terminal under construction in Manhattan — begins at the end of this year, Elmont-UBS Arena Station will become a full-time station on the Hempstead Branch with service year-round.