The Center Moriches train station was closed in 1998 as the Long Island Rail Road made upgrades to nearby stations at both Mastic-Shirley and Speonk to accommodate the new double-level diesel train cars.
Local resident Jerry Eaderesto was led to believe that the criteria for disconnecting their service was due to low daily ridership and that the distances to nearby stations were deemed as sufficient access.
The Mastic-Shirley station is approximately 4 miles west of Center Moriches and the Speonk station is approximately 6 miles east of Center Moriches.
According to MTA media liaison Dave Steckel, there is service to the Center Moriches area via the Montauk Branch, which offers 13 eastbound trains to/from Mastic-Shirley and 15 eastbound trains to/from Speonk daily and 14 trains to/from both stations going west.
However, according to Eaderesto, there is frequently heavy traffic on the roads to the Mastic station and the buses take an hour-long route from the Mastic station to Center Moriches.
“The distance between our town and either Speonk or Mastic is neither walkable or easy,” he said of the challenge. “Cabs from both stations are infrequent, expensive, and unreliable.”
Since the ‘90s, when the station closed, Eaderesto said there were two major petitions sent to the MTA requesting the resumption of service Additionally, Eaderesto said that since the closure, there has been a significant population increase in the Moriches and Manorville area. Also, Brookhaven Town sent a study to the LIRR that underscored the local population growth.
According to the Town of Brookhaven’s 2016 Moriches, Center Moriches, East Moriches and Eastport Montauk Highway Corridor recommendations, while not part of the study, the town, at that time, was actively working to determine if it was feasible to reopen a train station to encourage the use of buses and trains to reduce on-road traffic.
“After speaking to the head of external affairs for the LIRR, it’s clear that the LIRR has allocated no funding and has no plans to reopen the station in the foreseeable future,” said councilman Dan Panico.
As per 1990 New York census data, there were just under 6,000 residents in Center Moriches near the time of the train station closure. As of 2020, according to census data, the area now has just under 8,000 residents.
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