The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has begun to mobilize its storm recovery procedures in anticipation of near blizzard conditions.
MTA spokesman Sal Arena told the Herald that the Long Island Rail Road will provide extra service on all lines leaving Penn Station from 2 to 5 p.m. this afternoon, for commuters who are leaving work early, he said.
"We don’t want to have anyone in harm’s way," Arena said. "We don’t want people stranded on trains... We want to get everyone home safely tonight."
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According to the MTA website, LIRR service could be hindered due to significant snowfall and gustful winds expected in the next two days, advising commuters to anticipate some train delays and allow extra travel time for their evening and morning commutes.
As part of storm recovery protocol, LIRR employees will salt station platforms in and around station areas prior to the storm and clear platforms once snow starts falling. Employees will also spray anti-freeze on the third rail on the tracks and inside of train doors and activated switch heaters on the ground to prevent ice from accumulating and freezing on rails.
In terms of snow equipment, LIRR employees normally have nine jet snow blowers, three cold-air snow blowers and two double-ended snow broom/thrower machines, which are winterized, tested and positioned strategically throughout the system, at its disposal if snowfall accumulates to about 4 to 6 inches.
Arena said the MTA has also acquired a new piece of equipment this season, known as a "ditcher spreader," which he said will be used to clear large snow drifts on tracks, specifically the eastbound Ronkonkoma line.
While no service delays or suspensions have been reported, as of yet, MTA officials will continue to monitor the U.S. National Weather Service as heavier snow begins to fall. For more updates on train delays or cancellations during the expected storm, visit the regularly modified LIRR train schedule at http://web.mta.info/lirr/Timetable/Modified.htm.