LIRR could again be snow-paralyzed – Metro US

LIRR could again be snow-paralyzed

If the snow on the ground today hits 10 inches, start to worry, Long Island Rail Road riders. That’s when MTA officials may consider shutting down certain lines or all of the LIRR.

“If it gets to 10 to 13 inches, riders should anticipate the railroad may have to suspend service temporarily on various lines,” LIRR spokesman Sal Arena told Metro.

As a precaution, the LIRR canceled service east of Speonk last night and this morning. All service was suspended between Greenport and Ronkonkoma this morning.

“We face significant issues when the snow gets above the third rail, because then we lose the ability to draw power to electrical equipment,” said LIRR president Helena Williams. The LIRR’s entire system was shut down for more than 24 hours during the late-December snowstorm.

The railway system was plagued during the last storm when 50-mph gusts blew snow onto the tracks and jammed up switches at Jamaica, said Williams, so trains couldn’t switch tracks.

“In December we were too slow in reacting to events as they happened,” admitted MTA chairman Jay Walder yesterday, who vowed to operate better service in today’s storm.

Up to 18 inches of snow and wind gusts of up 35 mph are expected on Long Island today.