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LIRR beats own record in 2009 with 95.21 percent on-time trains

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The Long Island Rail Road turned in the best performance in its history in 2009 with trains arriving on time 95.21 percent of the time in a feat LIRR President Helen Williams said was possible because of the excellence of the railroad’s 6,800 employees.

It was the third consecutive year the LIRR set a record in on-time performance.

The 2009 record was the best since modern record keeping began in 1979 and included 81 rush-hour periods when on-time performance reached 100 percent. The milestone was reached last year while operating 244,937 trains.

“We couldn’t achieve these new records each year without the dedication of our workforce,” Williams said. “They make it all happen in all kinds of weather, day in and day out.”

Williams attributed the improvement in the railroad’s on-time record to investments in the LIRR fleet, better maintenance, a robust track work program, better vegetation management along the tracks and superior employee performance.

In the LIRR customer surveys, on-time performance repeatedly has been mentioned as the No. 1 priority of riders.

“Trends indicating improvement are always welcome,” said Maureen Michaels, chairman of the Long Island Rail Road Commuters Council.

The previous on-time performance record of 95.14 percent was set in 2008. It was 94.07 in 2007.

The LIRR also said it set an morning peak on-time performance of 95.72 percent last year, compared to 95.43 in 2008.

But LIRR on-time performance in diesel locomotives lagged behind with a 93.32 percent performance.

A train is considered to be on-time if it reaches its final destination within five minutes and 59 seconds of its scheduled arrival time.

The LIRR last year celebrated its 175th anniversary, providing in excess of 80 million customer trips as the busiest commuter railroad in the nation.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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