LIRR’s new president unveils plan to modernize service

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NEW YORK -

The Long Island Rail Road's new president is pushing for major improvements to its oft-criticized service.

"It's a tremendous amount of work, but it's critical work," says Phillip Eng, who has been on the job for about two months. 

He says the railroad needs to go in a new direction to improve customer experience. He unveiled his plan to do so Monday, dubbing it LIRR Forward.

"I think it was very well-received, and we're hopeful it will be as successful as possible," says Mitch Pally, a member of the MTA board.

One of his major proposals is to halt the practice of installing temporary fixes and to treat all repairs as permanent solutions.

"It's part of an overall culture change at the railroad, to take care of business now," he says.

He also says he's ramping up efforts to bolster the railroad against weather-related delays, potentially eliminating them entirely by hardening the infrastructure.

And he plans to add GPS tracking to all of the trains to make arrival times more accurate on the LIRR app, website, station signs and announcements.

Additionally, the popular Waze GPS app will be adding LIRR track crossings to its maps and warning drivers not to inadvertently turn onto them. Last year almost 400 trains were delayed because drivers accidentally turned onto the tracks.

But some riders tell News 12 they'll wait for tangible results before they get their hopes up.

"My expectations are not generally too high," says Phil Damela, of Nesconset.

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