With white-sand beaches and celebrity-filled, high-profile white parties, the Hamptons have ruled the New York summer scene since the days of the Fitzgerald's raucous parties in the roaring '20s. But when it seems like half the city is crowding onto the Long Island Expressway every summer Friday afternoon, getting to the Hamptons can be a drag, not the beginning of a glamorous weekend. Take the train from New York City to the Hamptons to avoid the suffocating traffic.
Types of Trains
The Long Island Railroad runs trains to the Hamptons from New York City via regular and express service. The regular Hamptons Coach Service trains make all station stops and reaches Westhampton in around two hours, terminating at Montauk after a three-hour ride. These trains feature bi-level cars with air-conditioning and ergonomic seating. The Cannonball, a high-end express train, makes one departure each Friday afternoon in the summer, whisking passengers to Westhampton in 1 hour and 40 minutes and Montauk in a little over 2.5 hours. These trains feature reserved seating cars with in-seat beverage and snack service as well as two on-board beverage carts.
From New York City, three primary stations serve the Montauk line, which heads to the Hamptons along the South Fork of Long Island. Many Hamptons-bound trains depart from Hunterspoint Avenue Station, near Grand Central and a convenient departure point for passengers from the east side. Hamptons trains also pass through the central LIRR stations in Penn Station and Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. On Long Island, from west to east, trains stop at Westhampton, Hampton Bays, Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Amagansett and Montauk in the Hamptons.
The MTA increases summer trains to the Hamptons during the busy summer season, typically operating six daily rides hitting each station between Westhampton and Montauk. Two trains depart from the city each morning, two each afternoon and two late in the evening. One of the afternoon trains is the Cannonball express route, which arrives in the Hamptons around dinner time. The morning routes require passengers to change trains in Speonk, the last station on Long Island before the Hamptons. In the off-season, service on this route decreases to a couple trips per day, often with connections.
Purchasing tickets for the Hamptons trains can be a nightmare if you roll up to the train station a short time before your train is set to depart on a Friday afternoon in summer. Even though the MTA adds extra trains to accommodate as many eager Hamptons-goers as possible, trains are packed and ticket purchasing lines can take a half hour to get through, even at the automated machines. To encourage passengers to purchase packs of tickets in advance, the MTA instituted a new ticket policy making 10 trip ticket packs valid for six months and transferable, so you can share them with friends. Like all LIRR tickets, prices for Hamptons-bound trains depend on whether you travel during peak or off-peak hours. Peak hours for east-bound trains begin at 4 p.m. on weekdays.