Service Diversions Updated

I just wanted to inform everyone that the service diversions page has been updated with the latest planned service diversions starting this weekend & cover next week (beyond for some).

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LIRR Service Alert Update

I apologize for not posting this when I heard a couple of hours ago.

Ronkonkoma Branch Customers:

LIRR service on the Ronkonkoma Branch has been restored between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma with residual delays of up to 45 minutes. Earlier, service was suspended when an unauthorized person on the tracks was struck by a train east of Deer Park.

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LIRR Service Alert

Ronkonkoma Branch Customers:

Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) service on the Ronkonkoma Branch is suspended in both directions between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma as result of an unauthorized person on the tracks who was struck by a train east of Deer Park.

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MTA To Provide Hybrid Bus Service To DHL All-Star Fan Fest

Earlier today, the MTA’s New York City Transit division announced their partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Major League Baseball (MLB) to provide hybrid-electric bus service to the DHL All-Star Fan Fest at the Javits Center. Here are all the details:

MTA New York City Transit, working with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Major League Baseball (MLB), will provide 100% hybrid-electric bus service to the Javits Center this weekend for DHL All-Star FanFest.

The M42 crosstown bus, which runs from the Javits Center and 42nd Street/12th Avenue to the United Nations (42nd Street/1st Avenue), will provide service with hybrid-electric buses only throughout the weekend. The frequency of service will be every 15 minutes, on average.

The MTA’s regionally integrated bus operation, composed of MTA New York City Transit’s Department of Buses, the MTA Bus Company and MTA Long Island Bus, operates North America’s largest fleet of hybrid-electric buses on routes throughout New York City – 825 hybrid buses or 13% of its fleet of 6,221 buses. Each hybrid bus saves approximately 50,000 gallons of fuel and 500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over its 12 year life when compared to a conventional diesel bus. These buses are more than 90 percent cleaner than the older diesel buses that they replace. The remainder of the MTA’s regional bus fleet is also extremely environmentally friendly, with 1,109 buses fueled with compressed natural gas and 4,287 buses using ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.

“By employing the continent’s largest fleet of hybrid-electric buses, our regional bus operation will save nearly 5 million tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere over 12 years – a huge benefit for future generations,” said Elliot G. Sander, Executive Director and CEO of the MTA. “Our new regionally integrated bus operation makes it easier to coordinate the most efficient deployment of these buses and save money in the process.”

“We are very pleased with the way our hybrid electric buses have been performing under heavy traffic conditions, and we’re delighted to have this opportunity to show them off,” said Joseph Smith, Senior Vice President of Buses for MTA New York City Transit and President of the MTA Bus Company and MTA Long Island Bus. “We’re very proud of our hybrid bus fleet. By buying such a large number of hybrid buses, we are helping to stimulate the bus manufacturing industry to move in this direction, making it easier for our peers across the continent to purchase these environmentally friendly buses.”

“Taking transit to the game and to FanFest will be the best way to beat the traffic and the summer’s high gas prices,” said Rich Kassel, an NRDC urban transportation expert who has worked with the MTA on its clean-bus initiatives for more than a decade. “Avoiding traffic, saving money on gasoline, and cutting pollution is a win-win-win for the city’s fans.”

The MTA hybrid bus project is one of a series of initiatives MLB has implemented in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council to make the 2008 MLB All-Star Game the greenest event in MLB’s history. MLB and NRDC have partnered together since 2005 on a League-wide environmental initiative, both for League events and also to help individual Clubs build on the good environmental work they’ve been doing for years.

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LIRR Earns Millions From Scrap Metal

Earlier today the MTA’s Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) division issued a press release highlighting the $3 million dollars earned from the sale of salvageable scrap metal. Here is the full release courtesy of the MTA:

MTA Long Island Rail Road President Helena Williams reported today that the sale of scrap metal salvaged by the LIRR has brought in more than $3 million since 2006, including $718,469 so far this year.

“We know that our neighbors appreciate a clean right-of-way,” said Williams. “Clearing debris has obvious environmental benefits and is important for safety. But it has also become a revenue source that helps offset the cost of our cleaning efforts. Wherever feasible, ‘trash for cash’ is the way the Long Island Railroad is going.”

This initiative comes as MTA Executive Director Elliot G. Sander has ordered the LIRR and other MTA agencies to tighten their belts by reducing expenses and operating more efficiently in the face of budget pressures brought on by a worsening economy. Sander has ordered all MTA agencies to reduce spending by six percent during the next four years. The LIRR ‘trash for cash’ program generated an extra $400,000 that will help close this year’s budget gap.

Since 2006, more than 6,000 gross tons of scrap – mostly old running rail replaced during routine maintenance – has been collected by LIRR workers doing targeted clean-ups with a high-rail crane equipped with a giant magnet. Old train wheels and axles, metal shavings, copper wire and railroad tie plates and fasteners are also part of the salvage sold off.

With 700 miles of track, cleaning the right-of-way is an ongoing effort. In some cases, debris has accumulated along the track bed over many years. To ensure it is getting a fair price for the used metals, the LIRR uses a truck scale at the Hillside Maintenance Facility in Hollis, Queens to weigh the salvaged materials.

In 2007, LIRR workers combed 69 miles on the Hempstead, Main Line, Oyster Bay and West Hempstead branches removing over 2,700 tons of scrap, 183,089 old railroad ties and 29,750 cubic yards of debris.

Through April of this year, crews have so far removed 1,399 gross tons of scrap metal, 38,761 railroad ties and 9,350 cubic feet of debris. In each of the last three years, the revenue from scrap metal sales has exceeded the LIRR’s own projections.

The scrap metal recycling program is in keeping with the Railroad’s efforts to meet environmental goals set in April by the MTA Commission on Sustainability. The Commission was created last year to study ways the agency could become more environmentally friendly.

The Railroad is taking steps to reduce its hazardous waste output, working to recycle waste at each of its stations and using only environmentally safe cleaning products.

“We are working closely with the Commission on Sustainability and the MTA and are committed to using more renewable resources, minimizing waste and decreasing our impact on the environment,” said Williams.

Once again I am really impressed at the improvement shown by the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in terms of their operation since Helena Williams took over. Lets hope the agency continues to earn solid revenue from an activity that not only helps the bottom line but the environment as well.

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