Power Cap

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25 April 2011

The Retro Files: Belmont LIRR Station, 2010

Only four days away from the opening of the spring/summer meet at Belmont highlighted by many important stakes races, including the Metropolitan Handicap and the Belmont Stakes. The MTA website has no posted regular LIRR train schedule for the meet, meaning that they will likely have only two days of commuter trains stopping at big sandy (the day before the Belmont Stakes and the day of). With the closure of NYC Off Track Betting, this will surely drive up the attendance of Belmont with people having to visit the track to bet the races if they do not have a NYRA rewards account.

When the MTA stopped service out to the racetrack it was due to low ridership and it being a money losing route due to the first reason. Now that the Off Track Betting locations are no longer open the ridership for this train branch would surely increase. The bus service NYRA offered from certain branch locations to Aqueduct and it looked like it did well in getting fans to the track. Aqueduct saw an increase of double the amount of fans that went through the turnstiles from the 2009-2010 winter meet.


gc said...

What a shame that the station sits idle. No OTB and hundreds were riding buses to get to Aqueduct daily. Here Belmont has its own mass transit station and they close it up squandering the chance to sustain horse racing New York. The trains would taken thousands per day -former OTB urchins- to Belmont feeding an industry that feeds thousands around the state.

Anonymous said...

Actually, NYRA and the LIRR have scheduled a news conference tomorrow to announce the restoration of service. Newsday has the story behind a pay wall. Yippee!!

gc said...

great news!!

The New York Racing Association is paying the Long Island Rail Road to restore train service to Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., starting with the track's opening day on Friday, association officials said on Monday.

Regular train service from Penn Station in midtown Manhattan to the doors of Belmont Park was suspended in 2009 as part of cuts to close a budget deficit. NYRA decided this year to support the restoration of the service financially because of a 50 percent increase in average attendance at the association's Aqueduct race meet since New York City OTB closed all of its operations in December.

"It's our hope that the train service will pay for itself with increased admissions and other ontrack revenues," said NYRA spokesperson Dan Silver.

Since the OTB's closing, the association has paid for regular bus shuttles throughout the city that transport customers either to Aqueduct for live racing or Belmont for simulcasting.

The Belmont Park train makes several stops on the way to the track. Without direct service, riders were required to disembark at Queens Village and either walk to the track or catch a ride on a free shuttle bus.