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From New York's MTA, LIRR to Boston's MBTA, winter storm slows transit

New York transit – including the MTA, LIRR, and Metro North – has seen significant delays in the wake of a winter storm that covered rails in as much as two feet of snow.

By Staff writer / December 28, 2010

A New York Transit worker removes snow from stairways leading into a subway station on Monday.

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

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Despite sunny skies Tuesday, rail and transit systems in the Northeast were still struggling to get back to normal operations.

New York area commuters faced the biggest challenges, but milder problems stretched from Philadelphia to Boston.

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The MTA system in New York has advised would-be commuters to "consider traveling later in the morning if at all possible" and warned of possible crowding issues due to limited service on subways and commuter trains.

MTA officials warned of subway service outages, particularly where lines were directly exposed to the snow, including in Brooklyn.

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has suspended service on some routes and is operating a Martin Luther King Day schedule on its Babylon, Huntington, Port Washington, and Ronkonkoma branches.

The Metro-North Railroad (MNR) lines into New York are operating, but on a Saturday schedule on the Harlem, Hudson, and New Haven lines.

Part of the challenge across the Northeast has been simply the volume of snow on tracks and roads. Crews worked to clear as much as two feet from rails near New York. But the transit systems have also battled problems with weather-impaired signals.

New York bus service? Don't ask.

"Long Island Bus is operating very limited service due to road conditions," the MTA said on its website, where updates will be posted. "Limited-Stop bus service in New York City remains suspended. Local and express service in the five boroughs is operating with delays" and shortened routes, it said. "We will only restore service where we can safely do so."

Near Philadelphia, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority warned that rail passengers could face 30 minute delays, and a few bus routes are suspended.

The New Jersey Transit system also has delays, after areas such as Port Elizabeth saw nearly three feet of snow. Trains are operating on an "enhanced weekend schedule," bus service has been restored, and passengers in the central or northern parts of the state "should expect delays due to local road conditions."

The NJTransit.com website has additional weather-related information, such as a few trains that are canceled or delayed by up to an hour.

In Boston, some commuter lines are running late by as much as 30 minutes, and a truck stuck on one track caused similar mild delays on the Kingston/Plymouth line, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) said. Subway and bus riders also faced some delays after the big dig-out.

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