WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES SEPTEMBER 9, 2021 13
LIRR coping with more ferocious weather
BY PHIL ENG
It seems like the storms that come our way keep
getting more ferocious — but they’re no match for
the skill and dedication of our workforce.
Last week, the remnants of Hurricane Ida
dropped a historic amount of rain over a short
period of time Wednesday into Thursday, causing
fl ash fl ooding, fallen trees, power outages and track
damage across our service area.
When visibility became near zero, we knew we
needed to suspend service to keep customers and
our employees safe. We’ve dealt with rain-heavy
storms before, and we knew the kind of devastation
that Ida was causing elsewhere. So we suspended
service systemwide around 12:30 a.m. on Thursday,
Sept. 2 — but, in less than four hours, the brave men
and women of the LIRR did what they do best: they
responded in harrowing conditions to get service
up and running again as quickly as possible.
Working around the clock, we restored full
service to nine of our 11 branches before noon on
Thursday. Crews worked nonstop Thursday to bring
the Port Washington Branch back online, a successful
eff ort that allowed us to run with partial service
restored on the entire branch by the p.m. peak.
Damage from the massive amount of rain was
widespread: crews cleared debris that fl ooded
down onto the tracks as well as in switches. At
several locations, they addressed what we call
“wash-outs,” where the ballast beneath the tracks
has been washed away, as well as “wash-ins,” where
sand and mud washed over and covered the tracks
in several areas.
While we had extra crews and equipment at the
ready to respond, our storm prep does not start
mere hours or days before we know a storm is about
to hit. As we’ve seen more and more in recent years,
weather threats facing the entire MTA system aren’t
just about coastal fl ooding.
Climate change has led to fl ash fl oods that have
severely impacted the entire system, including at
higher elevations. Over the past three years, our
heroic workforce has been working with determination
to make our system the most resilient it’s
ever been, which helps us mitigate impacts from
Mother Nature and prepare for storms like Ida. This
important work will continue throughout the entire
I’m certain that because of these eff orts, we were
able to avoid and limit many impacts that we would
have otherwise expected from this record rainfall,
enabling us to more quickly restore service for
those that need it.
I’m immensely proud of the team and the work
that gets done — before, during and aft er major
weather events. As we move on from Ida, we’ll
continue to fortify our system for whatever Mother
Nature throws our way. You can rest assured that
the people of the Long Island Rail Road will keep you
safe and get you where you need to go. It’s a way of
life for us, 24/7, and we do it with great pride.
Phil Eng is president of MTA Long Island Rail Road.
CLEANING UP AFTER IDA
PHOTO BY DEAN MOSES
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