Service Diversions 01-30-14

Get a head start on your weekend plans as I have just updated the Service Diversions.

Make sure to follow @TransitBlogger on Twitter by clicking the button in the sidebar as I am using it more often. Also if you are into indie music make sure to follow @IndMusicReview & @SurgeFM!

Have a safe & wonderful weekend!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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LIRR Ridership Rises 2% In 2013

In more railroad ridership news, the Long Island Rail Road saw a 2% increase in ridership in 2013. Here is more:

A surge in train travel over the last three months of 2013 helped boost MTA Long Island Rail Road’s ridership for the second year in a row with the LIRR recording a 2% jump in passenger rides over 2012 totals.

The LIRR carried 83.4 million riders in 2013, an increase of 1,640,716 passengers over the previous year. The 2 percent increase is another indication that the region’s economy is improving and that LIRR customers responded to the restoration of some service that had been cut during the Great Recession.

“We are seeing an increase in both commuters going to work and occasional riders,” said LIRR President Helena E. Williams. “We had the opportunity to add back some service in 2013 and we are pleased that riders are responding by using the LIRR more often to get to work as well as for leisure and other travel during the off peak periods. We believe the increase in ridership also reflects an improving Long Island and NYC economy.”

The LIRR’s 2013 ridership is the 7th best year in the post-war period. The LIRR carried 87.4 million passengers in 2008, its best year at the time in 60 years.

The LIRR branches with notable increases in 2013 include: Port Washington with a 3.0% increase or 351,294 rides; Port Jefferson with a 2.7% increase or 471,942 rides; Far Rockaway with a 2.6% increase or 139,808 rides; Ronkonkoma with a 2.4 increase or 228,366 rides; and Montauk with a 2.8 percent increase or 57,525 rides. Long Beach, which is still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, experienced a decline (0.8%).

Significantly, the LIRR experienced a nearly 3 percent jump in weekly and monthly passenger rides last year (commutation ridership).

The LIRR last year took a number of steps that helped boost weekend and leisure travel, including an enhanced service plan to meet new demand created by the opening of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, located directly across from the LIRR’s Atlantic Terminal.

In the summer, the LIRR made adjustments to the Montauk schedule, including moving the departure of the Friday afternoon Cannonball express train to Penn Station from Hunterspoint Avenue. In November, the LIRR restored half-hourly weekend service on the Port Washington Branch. The Railroad also added trains to and from Farmingdale on its weekday schedule on the Ronkonkoma Branch and extended weekend service to and from Greenport by approximately 10 weeks, providing service into November.

I’ll be frank, the 2% increase in ridership just equates to more victims of the overpriced LIRR which I try to avoid riding at all costs!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Metro-North Reaches Ridership Record

East of Hudson service on the Metro-North set a new ridership record in 2013. Here is more:

Metro-North’s annual east of Hudson ridership last year was the highest in the railroad’s history, at 81.8 million, surpassing the previous east of Hudson record of 81.5 million rides that was set in 2008.

This is an increase of 0.7% above calendar-adjusted 2012 levels. Combined ridership on the east and west of Hudson markets was 83.4 million.

In 2013, the Harlem Line was the fastest growing line with a 1.2% increase and carried 26,949,667 riders.

The New Haven Line was up 0.5% and recorded its highest ridership ever in 2013 (carrying 38,975,052 customers) an increase of more than 1 million annual rides since 2008, and 175,000 more than in 2012, the previous record year when the line carried approximately 38.8 million customers.

The Hudson Line grew 0.3% in 2013 and carried 15,877,559 customers.

During the past year, commutation ridership grew 1.8%, reflecting the strengthening regional economy, while non-commutation ridership decreased 1% from the previous year, due to a variety of factors including weather and major service disruptions.

Metro-North rail ridership in the West of Hudson territory including the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines was down, falling 2.3% to 1,576,227 rides in 2013. Individually, ridership on the Port Jervis Line fell 3.6% and ridership on the Pascack Valley Line was essentially unchanged from the previous year. While the ridership drop is not as pronounced as in previous years, it reflects a customer base that has been slow to recover since Hurricanes Sandy and Irene. West of Hudson ridership peaked in 2008 at almost 2.1 million.

It is nice to see the service being utilized as much as it has. To be honest, I feel if more of an investment was made in terms of infrastructure, we could see the full potential of service. However seeing such an investment is just a transit dream in the current economic climate.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Cause Of Disruption Identified

Metro-North has been on a roll lately & not of the good kind. Yesterday was more of the same for the much maligned agency as riders had to endure a 2 hour service disruption.

Just a short time ago, the agency announced what caused that disruption. Here are the details:

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said today that the cause of last night’s two-hour service disruption on Metro-North Railroad has been traced to human error during an electrical repair project.

“Last night’s failure was unacceptable, pure and simple,” Prendergast said. “The project should have been analyzed for risks and redundancy before it began, and it should not have been performed when thousands of customers were trying to get home in cold weather.”

The computers that run the railroad’s signal system lost reliable power at 7:45 p.m. when one of two main power supply units was taken out of service for replacement. Technicians performing the work did not realize that a wire was disconnected on the other main power supply unit. This destabilized the power supply system for more than an hour until a backup supply could be connected.

“Metro-North customers deserve better, and I extend my sincere apology to all of them,” Prendergast said. “I have directed Metro-North to bring in an independent consultant to examine how and why these mistakes were made, and to recommend any necessary changes to operating procedures to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”

More than 50 trains were forced to halt for safety reasons when the signal system went dark. Rail traffic controllers instructed engineers to slowly bring their trains to the closest station. Trains were not allowed to proceed through switches until signal maintainers could respond and manually ensure the switches were lined up correctly, which delayed some trains further.

All trains had light, heat and power during the disruption, and no customers were ever in danger. Customers were able to get off trains when they reached a station. Trains began moving by 9:30 p.m. and full control over the signal system was re-established by 10:30 p.m. Significant delays continued throughout the evening hours, and service returned to normal this morning.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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LIRR To Add 8 Trains To Schedule Tonight

Although the LIRR will continue to run a weekend schedule for the rest of today, the agency has announced they will add 8 trains to the schedule tonight. Here are the complete details:

The Long Island Rail Road will continue to operate on a weekend schedule for the rest of the day today (with the addition of bus service on the West Hempstead Branch and between Ronkonkoma and Greenport). The railroad will shift to a regular weekday schedule at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, January 23. To supplement train service on Wednesday’s rush hour, the LIRR will add eight eastbound trains departing Penn Station between 3:32 p.m. and 6:09 p.m. today.

Details on the extra trains are as follows:

Ronkonkoma Branch:

An extra train will depart Penn Station at 3:32 p.m., stopping at Woodside, Jamaica, New Hyde Park, Mineola, Westbury, Hicksville, Bethpage, Farmingdale, and then all stops to Ronkonkoma.

Babylon Branch:

Four extra trains will depart Penn Station, at 3:40, 4:40, 5:40 and 6:09 p.m. These four trains will stop at Jamaica and Rockville Centre, and then make all stops to Babylon.

Port Jefferson Branch:

Two extra Huntington-bound trains will depart Penn Station, at 5:07 p.m. and 6:06 p.m. These two trains will stop at Woodside, Jamaica, New Hyde Park, and then make all stops to Huntington.

Port Washington Branch:

An extra Great Neck-bound train will depart Penn Station at 5:03 p.m. stopping at Woodside and then making all local stops to Great Neck.

Snow Clearance Continues; Station Waiting Rooms Are Open

LIRR station waiting rooms will remain open around-the-clock through Friday afternoon, January 24, to accommodate customers waiting for trains during cold and inclement weather.

Customers are advised to allow extra travel time and use caution on platforms and stairs and while boarding/exiting trains.

The LIRR personnel are continuing to work around the clock to clear snow from tracks and station platforms. Switch heaters remain activated and we are operating special anti-freeze trains to coat the tracks with de-icer in an effort to prevent ice build-up on the rails. Extra LIRR personnel have been assigned to critical locations so they can respond quickly if problems occur.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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