Customers Urged to Avoid Non-Essential Travel with Winter Storm Watch in Effect Late Thursday Night into Friday Morning
Metro-North Railroad to Operate on Saturday Schedule with Additional Trains During Morning and Evening Peak Periods
All Articulated Buses to be Fitted with Chains Ahead of Friday Morning Commute
With winter weather expected to bring up to six inches of snow across the New York Metro area, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today detailed all-agency preparations being made to keep customers and employees safe while delivering as much reliable service as possible.
The MTA urges customers to avoid unnecessary travel during the snow. MTA employees will be throughout the operating region spreading salt and clearing surfaces of snow, keeping signals, switches, and third rail operating, and will attend to any weather-related challenges.
“While we are encouraging riders to avoid non-essential travel, the subway, bus and paratransit system will be running for those who need it,” said Craig Cipriano, New York City Transit Interim President. “Subway crews will be out before, during and after the storm to make sure staircases and platforms are clear. On buses, articulated buses will be fitted for chains ahead of the Friday morning rush hour. We will continue to carefully monitor road conditions and will be working with our partners at the New York City Department of Sanitation to make sure bus routes are passable.”
“Metro-North will operate on a modified schedule and monitor conditions for the duration of the snowfall,” said Catherine Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad. “Crews will be deployed before, during and after the storm clearing platforms and stairs and combatting any weather-related challenges.”
“With the first snowfall of 2022 on its way, the LIRR workforce is taking all necessary measures prior to the storm’s arrival and will be working around-the-clock to deliver safe service for those that may need to travel.” said Phil Eng, President of Long Island Rail Road. “Customers should plan extra travel time and check the LIRR Train Time app, MYmta or new.mta.info prior to traveling.”
“The safety of our customers and our employees is our top priority,” said Daniel F. DeCrescenzo Jr., President of MTA Bridges and Tunnels. “MTA Bridges and Tunnels personnel will be out on the road to ensure roadways remain as clear as possible. Motorists should avoid unnecessary travel, but if you must drive, please travel at reduced speeds.”
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.
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 will be fitted with chains ahead of the Friday morning rush hour. 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 and the Operations Command Center Weather Desk will monitor the forecast. A 35-mph speed restriction on all MTA Bridges will be implemented once the storm begins.
Over 9,600 tons of roadway deicer and 115 pieces of storm fighting equipment readied and available for deployment.
Bridges are equipped with embedded roadway sensors for temperature and above-ground atmospheric sensors that deliver real-time information on 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.
Bridges and Tunnels may also close 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 if conditions warrant.
Metro-North Railroad will operate on a Saturday schedule with additional trains in the morning and evening peaks. West of Hudson service will operate on a normal weekday schedule. 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.
Long Island Rail Road
The LIRR is closely monitoring weather forecasts as the upcoming storm nears its service area and is planning to run normal schedules throughout the duration of the snowfall. If snowfall becomes heavy, delays and/or service changes (including temporary suspensions), may occur.
Railroad crews will be out across the service territory working to keep trains moving for those who need them. De-icing trains will be running to keep third rails clear of snow and ice, while crews will be strategically positioned throughout the system helping to keep switches clear and operable.
Those who must travel are urged to be cautious on station staircases and platforms as well as when boarding and exiting trains. Customers are encouraged to check the LIRR Train Time app, MYmta app, or new.mta.info. 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.
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 and 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.