During the wee hours of this morning, I posted an entry about the Long Island Rail Road suspending service east of Ronkonkoma & Speonk due to Hurricane Earl. The information contained in the press release I received focused on Friday only. Just a short time ago, the LIRR sent me another press release with early information about Saturday’s possible service plan:
Before heading out to the East End on Saturday, LIRR customers are strongly urged to check the LIRR’s website for the latest information on LIRR service to the East End.
If there is minimal damage to our tracks on the East End, the LIRR is hoping to restore train service to the Hamptons and Montauk with the regularly scheduled 8:08 AM Saturday train from Jamaica to Montauk.
In order to restore this service, the LIRR will need to assess any storm-related damage late Friday night into early Saturday morning before deciding when service can resume on Saturday. The LIRR’s goal is to resume service as soon as possible on Saturday morning, depending on the extent of the storm damage. Even if there is no, or minimal, damage from the storm – such as fallen trees on the tracks, downed wires, power outages and flooding – it may take between 6 and 8 hours to reactivate crossing gates after the storm passes.
Friday Service to the East End Suspended
MTA Long Island Rail Road service to the East End of Long Island is suspended on Friday, September 3 for safety reasons related to the forecast of Hurricane Earl bringing sustained winds of 40 mph (with gusts of up to 60 mph), heavy rains and possible flooding.
Throughout the day Friday, LIRR train service will remain suspended east of Speonk on the Montauk Branch and east of Ronkonkoma on the Main Line, which normally takes customers to Greenport and Long Island’s North Fork.
Update on the Montauk Branch: The 5:09 PM train from Penn Station will not be canceled today, as earlier reported. This train will operate, but will terminate at Speonk at 7:18 PM. The LIRR’s website contains the details of LIRR storm-related service changes.
LIRR service west of Ronkonkoma and west of Speonk is expected to operate on a normal schedule.
The eight early getaway trains between 2:02 PM and 3:48 PM scheduled from Penn Station heading east on Friday will continue to operate to Babylon, Great Neck, Far Rockaway, Hicksville and Huntington.
These service changes are being made for three reasons:
• Safety of Our Customers: Suspension of service helps to ensure that no customers will be put at risk or stranded due to flooding or fallen trees.
• Protection of Our Equipment and Facilities: The LIRR will be securing 79 grade crossings on the East End in advance of the storm in an effort to avoid damage to crossings gates that can be sustained during high winds. Flooding is also a concern as the LIRR maintains storage yard facilities at both Greenport and Montauk Stations.
• Faster Recovery Time: By securing gates and other equipment in advance, the LIRR anticipates a quicker recovery time from any storm related damage and better service for customers throughout the holiday weekend.
While forecasters expect Hurricane Earl to weaken significantly as it proceeds north, they indicate that the East End should be prepared for Tropical Storm level winds and rain – strong enough to down trees and power lines and cause considerable flooding.
The LIRR will continue to monitor the storm closely and is in close contact with Nassau, Suffolk, New York City and New York State emergency officials.
In any storm situation, the LIRR’s storm safety policy is to begin to limit or suspend service as necessary once winds reach a sustained speed of 39 miles per hour, or what the LIRR calls “Zero Hour.” This policy is designed to ensure the safety of LIRR customers, employees and the Railroad’s equipment and infrastructure, including electric and diesel rolling stock and over 700 miles of track stretching from Manhattan to Montauk.
I will continue to post information as I receive it.
xoxo Transit Blogger