By Rich Lamb

JAMAICA, N.Y. (CBS 2 / WCBS 880) — If you’re planning to ride the Long Island Rail Road this weekend, brace yourself for big delays as the system gets a serious upgrade.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb on the upgrades and disruptions

It’s being called one of the most dramatic modernization projects in recent history, and because the delays are going to be so massive this weekend – and the weekend after next – LIRR officials have gone on Facebook and YouTube to apologize to their riders in advance.

“We want to thank you for your patience as we modernize our system,” said one YouTube ad. “We promise it’ll be worth the wait.”

Starting this weekend, officials say they will begin to bring the nation’s oldest commuter railroad into the 21st century by replacing equipment that dates back to the World War I era at its busiest hub: Jamaica Station.

Friday morning, riders faced delays of up to 70 minutes on the North Shore lines.

Just this past August, LIRR service was disrupted for days after a fire at a switching tower there. This huge overhaul and computerization of the switching and signal system is work the LIRR says could only be done on weekends.

LINK: More Details on the Service Disruptions

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