Long Island Rail Road to Suspend Service on All Branches; Blizzard Warning in Effect for Suffolk County
Customers Urged to Avoid Non-Essential Travel; Winter Storm Warning in Effect Late Friday Night into Saturday
Metro-North Railroad to Run Hourly Service on Its Main Lines and Suspend Service on Branch Lines
MTA Bridges to Implement Ban on Empty and Tandem Tractor Trailers at 12:01 a.m. Saturday
All Local Buses to Be Fitted with Tire Chains, Articulated Buses Will Be Replaced with Standard Buses on Saturday
Subways Planning to Operate Regular Weekend Service
MTA Vaccine and Test Sites Will Be Closed on Saturday
With a winter storm expected to bring heavy snow and blizzard conditions in some parts of the metropolitan region on Saturday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today detailed agency-wide preparations being made to keep customers and employees safe while delivering as much reliable service as possible. All standard buses will be fitted with chains for Saturday’s storm and will replace articulated buses. Due to the weather, all MTA vaccine and test sites will be closed on Saturday.
The MTA urges customers to avoid unnecessary travel during the storm. MTA employees will be out ahead of the storm spreading salt and clearing surfaces of snow and ice, keeping signals, switches, and third rail operating; will remove any downed trees that may fall across tracks; and will attend to any weather-related challenges during the storm.
“We’re bringing in hundreds of extra personnel and extending hours to sand and salt platforms, stairs, driveways, and walkways; run track and signal heaters; deploy snow-fighting tow trucks and anti-freeze trains; place chains on buses, and ready supplies of shovels and chain cutters to ensure that service can continue with minimal disruption,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “MTA employees will be working hard to respond to the storm and make sure service is as available as possible for those who must travel.”
New York City Subway and Staten Island Railway
While the underground portions of the subway system remain unaffected during snowstorms, there are nearly 220 miles of outdoor track throughout the boroughs. The Rockaway , Sea Beach , Flushing , Brighton and Dyre Av lines are particularly vulnerable to snow and freezing precipitation. To prevent subway trains from being blocked in yards, they may be moved and stored underground in anticipation of heavy snow or ice, which can affect underground service. Customers should check new.mta.info as well the MYmta app for service updates.
New York City Transit has a fleet of snow and ice-fighting trains designed to keep outdoor tracks, switches and third rails clear of snow and ice. High-powered snow throwers, jet-powered snow-blowers, and de-icing cars – retired subway cars modified with tanks and other specialized equipment to spray de-icing fluid on the third rail – are ready for immediate deployment. Additional employees will be at stations and in yards to assist with snow response.
New York City Buses
Articulated buses throughout the city will be taken out of service on Saturday and replaced by 40-foot standard buses that will be fitted with chains.
Bus managers have technology that tracks headways and service in real time allowing them to make service-related decisions more efficiently. Bus service will be adjusted based on road conditions around the city and service curtailments on a route-by-route basis are possible.
New York City Transit and the MTA Bus Company have 35 snow-fighting vehicles in its fleet, which operate on predetermined routes to quickly reach terminals, lay-over locations, and other highly trafficked areas and known hotspots.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels
MTA Bridges and Tunnels personnel have activated full inclement weather preparedness for all facilities within its service area.
Bridges and Tunnels will be implementing a ban on empty tractor-trailers and tandem vehicles from 12:01 a.m. through 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. Bridges and Tunnels will also be closing its pedestrian walkways on the Henry Hudson Bridge, Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and the Cross Bay Veteran's Memorial Bridge.
The Bridge and Tunnels Operations Command Center Weather Desk will monitor the forecast and report on conditions throughout the storm. A 35-mph speed restriction on all MTA Bridges will be implemented once crews begin weather-fighting operations.
Over 9,600 tons of roadway deicer and 115 pieces of storm fighting equipment have been readied and will be available for deployment throughout the storm.
Bridges are equipped with embedded roadway sensors which provide roadway temperatures and conditions as well as above-ground atmospheric sensors that deliver real-time information on air temperature, wind velocity, wind direction, humidity and precipitation via wireless communication. Additional restrictions may be put in place if conditions warrant. All non-critical roadwork will be suspended during the storm.
Long Island Rail Road
The LIRR will be suspending service on all branches. By 8:00 a.m., all trains will be in their final terminals.
Those who must travel prior to the suspension are urged to give themselves extra time due to adverse weather conditions and to use caution on station staircases and platforms as well as when boarding and exiting trains. Waiting rooms will remain open around the clock throughout the weekend into Monday.
Customers are strongly encouraged to check the LIRR Train Time app, MYmta app, or new.mta.info for details on the final trains that will run on each branch. Customers can chat live with LIRR customer service agents daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Train Time for any service-related questions.
Metro-North Railroad will operate hourly service on Saturday on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines. All service will be suspended on the New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury branches in Connecticut and the Wassaic Branch in New York.
West of Hudson service will operate on a normal weekend schedule. Previously scheduled trackwork on the Pascack Valley Line has been rescheduled for next Saturday, Feb. 5. Customers should anticipate scattered delays due to the weather.
Snow-fighting equipment is winterized, tested, and strategically positioned at facilities around the system. Protective heat circuits are being verified to be operational, air brake lines are being purged of any moisture to prevent them from freezing, and electric trains are being fitted with special third rail shoes to prevent snow from accumulating.
Metro-North Railroad installed third rail scraper shoes on its electric trains to clear snow/ice off electrified third rails, is shrouding exposed train couplers with snow covers, is treating exposed shoes with deicer, and is spraying door panels with anti-freeze agent.
Switches – the interlocking tracks that allow rail traffic controllers to route trains from one track to another – are being treated with an anti-freeze agent and lubricated. Metro-North Railroad uses electric switch heaters to melt snow.
Access-A-Ride paratransit will continue to provide service. Customers may experience additional delays and wait times. Customers may want to consider adjusting or canceling their travel plans. The Paratransit Command Center will be monitoring the storm to track and respond to any customer or day of service issues.
Real-Time Service Updates
Customers should check new.mta.info as well the MYmta app for updates and modified emergency schedules, as well as the LIRR Train Time and Metro-North Train Time apps for the commuter railroads.