How snow, ice and cold are affecting mass transit, travel

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Candace McCowan reports from Queens on the LIRR commute

The wicked nor'easter that battered the New York area with more than a foot of snow is gone, but the whipping winds and bitterly cold temperatures that followed are still affecting public transportation and travel in general. Here's how things are looking on Friday.

MTA subways and buses

The MTA continues to closely monitor the after-effects of the winter storm, operating under its Cold Weather Plan 2, during which some subway trains may be moved and stored underground to protect them inclement weather in yards. Subways are operating regular service with some lines running local service only as trains are stored on express tracks underground overnight.

Station crews have been working since Wednesday evening to ensure that subway stations and transit facilities are cleared and safe for customers and employees. More than 1,200 personnel cleared snow and salted platforms, as well as station entrances, sidewalk vents, emergency exits and other transit operational and employee facilities. Personnel have access to 600,000 pounds of calcium chloride and 200,000 pounds of sand to melt snow and ice.

More than 500 track switch heaters, 1,600 third-rail heaters and lift-rail heaters were activated systemwide to keep signals working and trains moving. While the underground portions of the subway system are unaffected during snowstorms, nearly 220 miles of outdoor track throughout the boroughs are particularly vulnerable to snow and freezing precipitation. This includes portions of the A, S, N, 7, B, Q and 5 lines. To combat ice buildup, non-passenger trains are running on outdoor tracks to help prevent snow and ice accumulation. Trains have been deployed with ice-scraping shoes, and five diesel trains have been activated as de-icers.

New York City Transit and MTA Bus are operating 2,000 buses with snow chains, including some articulated buses.

There are no weather-related or emergency disruptions of MTA service at this time. For more information visit:


The LIRR is operating on or close to schedule with the exception of buses replacing trains between Ronkonkoma and Greenport as an effect of the winter storm.

Buses are replacing trains between Riverhead and Greenport due to winter weather conditions. Train service is operating between Ronkonkoma and Riverhead.

For more information visit:


Metro-North is operating a reduced weekday schedule with some combined and canceled trains due to the impact of the winter storm and extremely low temperatures on infrastructure. Customers should anticipate delays and use caution when entering/exiting trains and on platforms and staircases.

For more information visit:

New Jersey Transit

Trains are subject to up to 30-minute delays systemwide due to weather-related issues, with trains in and out of Penn Station subject to up to an additional 15 minute delays to due congestion. River Line is now on or close to schedule in both directions.

Bus, rail and light rail are cross honoring passes/tickets system wide due to extreme weather conditions.

Customers are advised to regularly check for the latest service information.


PATH train service is operating on a normal weekday schedule, but delays are possible due to inclement weather.

For updates, visit


Amtrak is operating a modified schedule between Washington, D.C. and Boston on Friday, Jan. 5, with a reduced frequency of Acela Express and Northeast Regional trains. Additionally, Shuttle service, regularly operating between Springfield, Mass., and New Haven, Conn., will also operate on a modified schedule.

For Empire Service, (daily between New York City and Buffalo/Niagara Falls) the 5:10 a.m. train (train 230) from Albany to Penn-Station will be canceled.

Cancellations for Friday, Jan. 5, include Northeast Regional service between Washington, D.C. and Norfolk, Va., Auto Train service (daily between Lorton, Va., and Sanford, Fla.), Silver Meteor service (daily between New York and Miami) and Palmetto Service (daily between New York and Savannah, Ga.).

For the latest, visit


The Staten Island Ferry is operating on a regular weekday schedule, but customers are advised to allow extra travel time.

NYC Ferry routes are as follows:

East River Route: Operating regular schedule.

Rockaway Route: Due to current gale force wind conditions service to Sunset Park/ Brooklyn Army Terminal is currently suspended. Rockaway route service will be limited to Pier 11/ Wall Street and Rockaway way Landing only.

South Brooklyn Route: Due to current gale force wind conditions service to Sunset Park/ Brooklyn Army Terminal and Bay Ridge landing is currently suspended. South Brooklyn route service will be limited to service between Pier 11/ Wall Street and Red Hook/ Atlantic Basin.

Astoria Route: Operating regular schedule

Please check for Service Alerts and updates via App Notifications, or online at Ferry.NYC for updates.


All area airports are open and have resumed flight activity, but travelers are urged to contact their airlines for information regarding the resumption of specific flights.

Bridges, tunnels and roadways

The nor'easter caused treacherous driving conditions, and roadways may be icy due to the snow accumulation and low temperatures. Drivers are urged to exercise extreme caution.

When driving in snowy or icy conditions:
--Drive slowly. Vehicles take longer to stop on snow and ice than on dry pavement.
--Use major streets or highways for travel where possible.
--Install good winter tires that have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions.
--Four-wheel drive vehicles may make it easier to drive on snow-covered roads, but they do not stop quicker than other vehicles.
--Know your vehicle's braking system. Vehicles with anti-lock brakes require a different braking technique than vehicles without anti-lock brakes in icy or snowy conditions.
--If you are driving and begin to skid, ease your foot off the gas and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. Straighten the wheel when the car moves in the desired direction. If you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS), apply steady pressure to the brake pedal. Never pump the brakes on an ABS equipped vehicle.
--Try to keep your vehicle's gas tank as full as possible.
--Keep the name and phone number of at least one local towing service in your car in case you break down or become stuck.
--If you get stuck on the road, stay with your car and contact a towing company.

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