Battling back against a blizzard that blitzed Long Island overnight, MTA Long Island Rail Road said today it will operate trains on its four busiest branches while it continues its round-the-clock efforts to clear snow from its tracks.
Customers should check Modified Schedule 4 under the storm recovery timetables posted on the LIRR's homepage at www.mta.info/lirr. Just click on the "Modified Schedules" box at the bottom of the page. These special timetables were adopted last year as a way to let customers know the level of LIRR service to expect either during a storm or as we come out of a storm.
Under Modified Schedule 4 Trains are running every two hours out of Penn Station making all stops on the Babylon and Port Washington Branches and running every two hours as far as Huntington on the Port Jefferson Branch and as far as Farmingdale on the Ronkonkoma Branch. The 'Big 4' program began with the following trains. Ticket waiting rooms at all stations on those branches will be kept open to shelter customers from the cold.
The 7:04 AM from Penn Station, scheduled to arrive Babylon at 8:26 AM
The 7:35 AM from Babylon, scheduled to arrive Penn Station at 8:53 AM
Port Jefferson Branch west of Huntington:
The 7:00 AM from Penn Station, scheduled to arrive Huntington at 8:12 AM
The 7:35 AM from Huntington, scheduled to arrive Penn Station at 8:43 AM
Ronkonkoma Branch west of Farmingdale:
The 7:08 AM from Penn Station, scheduled to arrive Farmingdale at 8:07 AM
The 8:03 AM from Farmingdale, scheduled to arrive Penn Station at 9:00 AM
Port Washington Branch:
The 7:14 AM from Penn Station, scheduled to arrive Port Washington at 8:02 AM
The 7:35 AM from Port Washington, scheduled to arrive Penn Station at 9:00 AM
Snow accumulations as high as 30 inches in some places made it necessary for the LIRR to suspend service temporarily on the Far Rockaway, Hempstead, Long Beach and Oyster Bay Branches as well as Montauk Branch east of Speonk, the Port Jefferson Branch east of Huntington and the Ronkonkoma Branch east of Farmingdale. The West Hempstead Branch does not operate on weekends.
In addition to high snow drifts, weather related third rail icing and switch and signal problems made it unsafe to operate on those branches. Service will be restored on each branch as soon as it is safe to do so.
For the safety of customers and its employees, it is the Long Island Rail Road's policy to start suspending service temporarily if snow accumulations reach 10-13 inches. The down time also gives crews an opportunity to clear snow from tracks and switches. More than 1,200 LIRR employees have worked tirelessly over the last 24 hours to keep up with the biggest snowstorm of the season.
The LIRR advises customers to travel with caution and only if necessary and to check the status of train service for heading out. Up to the minute LIRR travel information is available on the MTA website at www.mta.info and customers are also advised to monitor the latest news and weather reports on television, radio and the internet.