LIRR riders bracing for winter service disruptions

Posted: Updated:

A second round of extensive track work at Penn Station is set to begin in January, ushering in a so-called "winter of worry."

"I think it's going to cause a lot more problems than there already is," says John Vitali, of Wantagh. "A lot more busy commutes, delays."

Schedules at this point are still being finalized, and no announcement has been made by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority about which Long Island Rail Road lines will be affected.

But what is currently known is that tracks 15, 18 and 19 at Penn, which are all used by the LIRR, will be completely taken out of service on a rotating basis, with some of the most aggressive track work occuring during peak hours.

LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski says the impact of the disruptions will be less severe than this summer's track work.

"We are doing the due diligence currently that we did during the summer service to try to accommodate as many riders, as many trains as possible into Penn Station," Nowakowski says, "but it looks like there will be some trains that will have to be diverted."

The LIRR Commuter Council points out the possibility of weather-related disruptions and is calling for more information so riders can plan ahead.

It's unclear at this point whether any discount will be offered to LIRR riders whose trains are diverted.

Once it commences, the second set of track work is expected to last until May.

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