BY PHILLIP ENG
Did you know the LIRR owns and operates on 516 miles of track? That’s not including an additional 110 miles of track in our yards and sidings.
Our complex infrastructure includes countless signal systems, switches, track circuits, and more – all of which need to be maintained for smooth operations. For 2020, we have laid out an aggressive schedule to tackle even more maintenance so we stay on top of what’s needed to deliver the service our customers deserve.
Indeed, the Long Island Rail Road is coming off a 2019 filled with improvements: from an unprecedented amount of maintenance and construction work and carrying modern-record ridership – while still delivering on-time performance gains — to launching new customer-service initiatives, and increasing customer and community outreach.
We continued that trend of success last month, when we posted the highest January on-time performance since 2012.
I want to let you know that we are not resting on these numbers – we’ve only just begun.
This will mark another year of major infrastructure and capital accomplishments, all while we strive to improve customer service for our ridership – at 91.1 million, and growing.
In the first six weeks of the year, we’ve already accomplished several critical tasks: seven new switches installed; four miles of track resurfaced; constructing north track siding in Hicksville; and, on the Atlantic Branch, approximately 20,000 feet of continuous welded rail, while also supporting the LIRR Expansion Project, and Amtrak’s improvements at Penn Station. Other major projects that we support, like East Side Access and Moynihan Train Hall, remain steadfastly underway.
Our teams work together to ensure we maximize the amount of work we accomplish during any given period, while keeping impacts to customers at a minimum, and informing the public of any changes they can expect during their travels. But our coordination does not stop internally. We engage constantly with customers and others with an interest on local, state, and regional levels across Long Island and New York City to ensure we listen to the voices of the people we are serving.
As our focus remains to provide customers a service that is both robust and reliable, having a creative thought process to accomplish this amount of work is essential when balancing the needs of our customers and the need to fortify and expand a system that hundreds of thousands of people rely on every single day.
These projects will help us reach our common goal: delivering world-class rail service to the people of New York.
Phillip Eng is president of the MTA Long Island Rail Road.