LIRR Receives Gold Award for Safety from the American Public Transportation Association for 2019

Long Island Rail Road President Phillip Eng, third from right, and MTA Board Member Kevin Law, right, with members of the Task Force. The photo was taken on Monday, July 22, 2019, at a meeting of the MTA Board's Long Island Rail Road Committee.
Long Island Rail Road President Phillip Eng, third from right, and MTA Board Member Kevin Law, right, with members of the Task Force. The photo was taken on Monday, July 22, 2019, at a meeting of the MTA Board's Long Island Rail Road Committee.

MTA Long Island Rail Road has received the American Public Transportation Association’s 2019 Gold Award for Safety, in recognition of the important incident prevention work performed by the LIRR’s Right of Way Task Force. The Gold Award is the national body’s highest form of recognition for safety.

The task force is a partnership between the LIRR and MTA Police Department created in 2002 to proactively reduce risks along 500 miles of mainline track by combatting trespassers, debris strikes, and encroachment occurring along the LIRR’s tracks systemwide. The land underneath and immediately adjacent to the tracks is known as the LIRR’s “right of way.”

The task force is composed of an LIRR Senior Safety Officer and an MTA Police Officer who conduct biannual inspections of the ROW, perform trend analysis, and respond to complaints along the tracks. The work includes potential security breaches, encampments by homeless individuals, illegal dumping of debris, encroachments, and trespassing reported by employees or the public. The task force coordinates immediate responses to complaints, which reduces the hazards and related risk of an incident occurring.

“Safety is a core value of the LIRR and we continuously work to prevent risks, both to employees, our customers and the communities we serve,” said LIRR President Phillip Eng. “We are pleased to see our approach and commitment recognized on a national level. Over the years, the task force has identified critical locations for high security fencing, and continues to broaden our reach for public education as we expand our system to accommodate ever-growing ridership at modern record highs.”

The main responsibilities of the task force are:

  • Monitoring right-of-way conditions through a variety of methods including a minimum of two site inspections of the LIRR infrastructure per year.
  • Reviewing daily logs of train service.
  • Investigating issues along the right-of-way as reported by internal and external sources.
  • Taking immediate action to safeguard the right-of-way as required based upon conditions discovered during site inspections and investigations of reported issues.
  • Documenting inspections and corrective actions in the task force’s database and the LIRR’s geographic information system.
  • Documenting locations of high security fence installations.
  • Developing an annual mitigation priority scale for corporate decision?making based on prior year’s incidents.

Maintaining policies and procedures related to the high security fencing.