LIRR moves Forward with infrastructure hardening, operational efficiency plan

Written by Kyra Senese, managing editor
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MTA LIRR/John Swanson

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has announced LIRR Forward, a new initiative through which the railroad intends to revamp its operations and efficiency.  


LIRR President Phil Eng said in a May 21 announcement that LIRR Forward will entail specialized actions to improve efficiency and infrastructure.

“This set of initiatives mark the beginning of a new way we do business by proactively attacking the root causes of our system’s problematic areas,” LIRR said in a statement.

The framework for LIRR Forward was created throughout a four-week period, LIRR said. Eng met with LIRR staff at various levels in each department to learn about its operations and needs, officials said.

“LIRR Forward is the first formal step in a new direction that will help us anticipate our problems before they arise, set standards on how to quickly and correctly respond to the challenges we face, to deliver what our ridership expects of us – which is safe, reliable service bolstered by timely, accurate and effective communication,” said Eng.

Senior staff also helped to examine the railroad’s current employee and equipment levels and analyze ways to repurpose existing resources.

LIRR says Eng has met with customers to learn their needs from the company and has taken such comments to LIRR staff. The railroad said many such concerns have been addressed, while long-term solutions have been integrated into the new LIRR Forward program.

“Building an open dialogue with both customers and staff is how LIRR Forward has taken its shape,” the railroad said. “This ever-evolving document takes into consideration LIRR’s most pressing infrastructure, reliability, communication, cleanliness, and service needs to help improve customers’ overall experience.”

The LIRR plans to use its new program as the railroad’s methodology for analyzing its service and how the agency can continuously improve, officials said.

Eng and other senior staff also plan to hold commuter forums in Suffolk and Nassau counties in the coming weeks.

Through the LIRR Forward program, the railroad plans to identify the root causes of system malfunctions and proactively solve such issues.

Some highlights of the program include:

  • Upgrading 10 switches in the next six months that caused 44 percent of the 205 switch failures LIRR experienced in 2017
  • Conducting joint inspections and upgrades on the 370 track circuits that caused 36 percent of LIRR’s track-circuit failures
  • Clearing 180 miles of overgrown vegetation along the right-of-way to reduce track incidents
  • Installing high visibility safety delineators at all 296 grade crossings this year in response to the 417 trains that were delayed due to vehicles on tracks in 2017
Categories: Commuter/Regional, ON Track Maintenance, Rapid Transit/Light Rail, Safety/Training