LIRR on-time numbers take dive in latest report

October 6, 2010 2:59:53 AM PDT
Published reports based on its own numbers paint a picture of declining service on the Long Island Rail Road.

Its on-time numbers have taken a dive, especially because of weather and a technical fire.

The railroad is turning in its worst performance in five years.

For a summertime report card, it's really dismal. For July, August and September, the LIRR ran 5,700 trains. And 10 percent of them were late or canceled.

The railroad says riders have to understand - there was the fire in the switching tower at Jamaica station, the service shutdowns afterward to make repairs and the weekend suspension of service for all of Suffolk County because of Hurricane Earl. Then there was the September storm that halted service into and out of Penn Station for hours.

But those explanations won't reassure riders as we head into winter.

Remember, the railroad adopted new rules early this year that it won't run any trains if the snow on the tracks gets too heavy. That's to avoid stranding riders on stuck trains, which the railroad has done repeatedly in the past two winters.

According to published reports, stop signal violations by conductors is also an issue. There were eight of them in the recent past, and when one happens, the entire train crew has to be replaced before the route can continue.