(Edited press release)
Starting Thursday, May 28, Long Island Rail Road train service from Penn Station directly into Belmont Park will be restored, pending Metropolitan Transit Authority board approval on May 27. The "Belmont Special" had been eliminated as part of a series of budget cuts and proposed fare hikes by the MTA, parent agency of the LIRR.
“This is great news for the many people who rely on the LIRR to get to Belmont Park,” said Hal Handel, executive vice president and chief operating officer for The New York Racing Association, Inc. “We would like to thank the MTA for recognizing the historical significance of the ‘Belmont Special’ and its importance to New York racing fans.”
Existing fares for the train service will remain in effect through June 17, when one-way and round-trip fares purchased at Penn Station, Brooklyn, Woodside and Jamaica will increase by $1. Fares from Long Island with a transfer at Jamaica will also increase.
"We're delighted to be able to restore this service," said LIRR president Helena Williams. "The LIRR has provided train service to Belmont since 1905. Especially on Belmont Stakes Day, the LIRR is the best way to get to this beautiful park."
Extra train service for the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on Saturday, June 6, will be provided, with 18 trains scheduled, beginning at 9:59 a.m. Westbound service will commence at 4:06 p.m. and continue until 9:00 p.m.
Since opening day at Belmont Park on April 29, NYRA had been providing free shuttle bus service between the track and the Queens Village station of the Long Island Rail for its patrons affected by the suspension of the train service.