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MTA unveils plan to combat expected snowstorm

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Hours before the arrival of a storm was expected to unload up to 14 inches of snow upon New York City, transit officials today unveiled an elaborate plan with one part designed to come to the aid of any stranded trains or buses.

“We are prepared,” said MTA Chairman Jay Walder at a news conference in Manhattan to lay out details of the emergency plan, which began at 2 p.m. with transit workers making ready a snowthrower and a de-iceing train at the East 180th Street Yard in the Bronx.

Other transit workers sprang into action at the 100th Street Bus Depot on upper Lexington Avenue started at 2 p.m.

Walder introduced the heads of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s major component divisions — Long Island Rail Road, NYC Transit, Department of Buses, Bridges and Tunnels and Metro-North Railroad — with each elaborating on details of the storm plan.

“With respect to any possibility that a bus or a subway train could become stuck or stranded,” Walder said, “our first concern is that we try to assure that such a thing does not happen.”

“Nevertheless, in such an eventuality,” Walder said, “we want to assure our customers that they will not be left alone. We will send a rescue train or vehicle to take care of people in such cases.”

An A train and its passengers were stranded for hours in Queens in the Dec. 26 blizzard.

Walder and NYC Transit Chief Tom Prendergast said the system would maintain command posts throughout the night and that information about what transit was operating would be kept up to date.

Walder and LIRR President Helena Williams said they could not overstate an appeal for passengers not to leave a stalled subway or commuter train, emphasizing the danger of such an action.

The LIRR will open its Situation Room at 93-02 Sutphin Ave. in Jamaica at 9 p.m. and transit workers began at 5 p.m. preparing snow-fighting equipment, including Sno-Jets, Snowbrooms and Cold Air Jets at the Holban Shop at Liberty Avenue and 183rd Street in Hollis.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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