LIRR’s on−time performance reaches 95 percent milestone

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The Long Island Rail Road last year achieved what officials called its best−ever on−time performance of 95.14 percent while serving a record number of passengers.

“This is the second year in a row the LIRR has improved our on−time reliability, while seeing increasing ridership,” said LIRR President Helena Williams.

“Our entire workforce — 6,800 strong — deserves credit for reaching this goal. A great railroad is like a great orchestra: All the players, all the sections have to perform at their peak to produce great music. We know that being on time is music to our customers’ ears and I am thankful for the dedication shown by all of our employees.”

LIRR officials said the 95.14 percent on−time performance was the best since modern record−keeping began in 1979. The LIRR reached the milestone in 2008 while operating 245,933 trains, 1,358 more than the previous year.

LIRR officials said further analysis showed the LIRR also set a record of 95.43 percent on−time during the morning peak period in 2008, with 51 morning rush hours achieving 100 percent on−time. The annual off−peak performance also set a record of 95.32 percent.

The evening peak on−time performance was 93.87 percent, with 28 afternoon rush hour trains operating at 100 percent.

A train is considered on−time if it reaches its final destination within five minutes and 59 seconds of its scheduled arrival time. The standard measure, used throughout the commuter rail industry, was adopted by the LIRR in 1979. That year, the LIRR posted an on−time performance of 83.42 percent and began an upward climb of improved performance through the decades.

Raymond Kenny, LIRR senior vice president of operations, said continued improvements in the work performed by the employees of the mechanical department have resulted in fewer breakdowns and new records set in equipment availability, which has had a direct impact in maintaining on−time performance.

“To meet the schedule and improve performance, you have to have the trains available each day,” Kenny said. “This has helped us achieve the record on−time performance we experienced in 2008.”

LIRR Vice President Albert Cosenza also credited the LIRR track and signal crews.

“They make sure that critical communication equipment and the railroad infrastructure — the running rails — are in good repair,” Consenza said.

“The work they do occurs behind the scenes. Most customers are unaware of their contributions, but their efforts are critical to producing the record on−time performance we set in 2008.”

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e−mail at or phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 136.

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