Good Night Irene; Thank you LIRR Customers
The tailwinds of Hurricane Irene were still blowing when the first LIRR crews fanned out across our Right of Way, yards, stations and terminals to assess the damage and begin the labor-intensive job of putting the railroad back in business.
Within hours after the storm passed on Sunday, August 27, hundreds of LIRR employees were at work, chainsaws and other equipment in hand, clearing downed trees, repairing power and signal lines, checking switches, pumping out low-lying areas and testing the LIRR fleet.
The years of planning for ‘The Big One’ - the once-in-a-generation hurricane long- discussed by emergency officials - had finally paid off. At the LIRR and the MTA, that plan meant shutting down the railroad on Saturday, well in advance of the storm, as the sun was still shining, to move equipment to higher ground, secure crossing gates, and keep customers and employees out of harm’s way as the storm approached. For many LIRR employees, it also meant canceling vacations, working overtime, and even sleeping in hotel rooms, cots and couches on Saturday night to be ready for the recovery effort.
With Irene barely out of the area, the LIRR began running trains between Penn Station and Jamaica at about 9 PM on Sunday evening. On Monday morning, as many of our customers were waking up to find themselves without power at home, the LIRR had six of its primary branches in operation, helping to get the region moving again.
We kept adding service each day and by Thursday, September 1, all 11 LIRR branches were fully operational in time for the Labor Day weekend.
During the last 12 months, we have experienced a series of extraordinary events – a signal tower fire in Jamaica (August 2010), a tornado (September 2010), the Blizzard of 2010 (December 26, 2010), multiple major snowstorms in 2011, an earthquake (August 23, 2011) and Hurricane Irene. In each and every instance, please know that LIRR employees have worked – often around-the-clock – to protect customers and get the railroad back in business as soon as it was safe to do so. We appreciate your patience during these often-difficult conditions.
Communication Improvements Planned
While the response to Irene worked well, we know that there are areas where we can do even better. Communications on trains and at stations is one. We are investing $3 million to improve the information provided to you. In the past, due to limitations of the system, the electronic station sign and automated announcements at times have had to be turned off, often when they were needed most. (During Irene, some stations lost power, impacting the signs and public address systems.) We are making improvements to try to keep them functioning, even during major disruptions. We also are working on improving station announcements to provide more frequent and timely information.
In addition, we hope soon to be able to provide a Real Time application for smartphones that will allow you to obtain detailed train information via the web and wireless networks.
One of the best ways currently to stay up-to-date about LIRR train information is to sign up for our email alerts. You can receive text messages delivered directly to your phone about the latest developments by branch. While we were all pleased to be able to say ‘Goodnight Irene,’ we will remain vigilant at the LIRR during hurricane season and as Old Man Winter approaches.
It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since the devastating terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Most of us remember where we were and what we were doing when we learned that hijacked jetliners hit the World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon, and crashed in rural Pennsylvania. The diligent efforts of the intelligence community, law enforcement, and security officials have kept us safe for the past decade. But we cannot rest on our laurels. We must remain vigilant, alert and aware.
It’s no secret that New York City, the greater metropolitan area, and transportation infrastructure in particular remain near the top of the terrorist’s list of high-valued targets.
Although there are no credible threats to New York at the present time, we ask that all LIRR customers be vigilant and aware of their surroundings, especially when riding the railroad. Please do not hesitate to report anything you may consider suspicious or unusual to an LIRR employee or police official. As the now well-known saying goes (and we mean it) “If You See Something, Say Something.”
LIRR Group Travel -- The Best Way to NYC
Everyone can fall in love with NYC this season. There is so much to do from Broadway Week’s 2-for-1 ticket sale 9/18-30, Off Broadway Week’s 2-for-1 ticket sale 9/26 - 10/9, the Feast of San Gennaro 9/15-25, Brooklyn’s Annual Book Festival 9/15-18 and more.Why not get a group together and go! The LIRR has group rates that can save you up to 60%. Rates apply to groups of 30 or more, but groups of 15 or more adults can save too! Our knowledgeable group sales staff can book your reservation for train travel together and help make the planning easy. For reservations call 718-217-5477 and say "Group Travel" or see our rates and information. Visit NYCgo.com for more ideas and savings!
Fall Schedules in Effect as of September 12
New LIRR timetables went into effect on Monday, September 12 and feature schedule adjustments to accommodate various track work and construction projects. The work includes a clean-up and removal of scrap material along the Main Line between Carle Place and Hicksville, which will directly impact midday weekday train schedules on the Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma Branches and indirectly affect connecting trains on the Long Beach, Oyster Bay and West Hempstead Branches.
Grade crossing modernization work on the Long Beach and Ronkonkoma Branches will affect Saturday/Sunday service during some weekends. A track tie replacement program will affect midday weekday service between Babylon and Sayville on the Montauk Branch. Be sure to pick up a copy of the new timetable for your branch, dated September 12 - November 6, for complete details.
Post Position – LIRR in the Lead at Belmont
Belmont Park’s Fall Meet is underway, now through October 30 and the LIRR is the most convenient way to get there to see your pony win. Belmont Park is only a half-hour from midtown Manhattan by train. To save money, buy LIRR package tickets at LIRR ticket windows and ticket machines before boarding the train. Monthly and weekly ticket holders can use their commutation tickets for travel to Jamaica, and need only purchase a $10 round-trip package ticket at an LIRR ticket window or ticket machine prior to boarding the Belmont Park train. If bought onboard the train, one-way tickets for travel between Jamaica Station and Belmont Park for use in conjunction with a monthly or weekly ticket, cost $13. ound-trip tickets are not sold onboard trains. Belmont Park is a special event station and services are limited; the station is not wheelchair accessible. Pick up a copy of the Belmont Park Timetable, available at all LIRR terminals.
The overall on-time performance for August was 90.5%.
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