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Grand Central Terminal Forced To Close; Blizzard Makes A Mess For Mass Transit

(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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UPDATED 12:01 a.m. Feb. 9, 2013

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In addition to the road, the rails are also being heavily impacted by the storm.

Grand Central Terminal closed at midnight because of the inclement weather.  Friday night, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider witnessed the usually-bustling spot virtually empty.

Some folks were stranded as a result.

“I wish we hadn’t had dessert.  I’d like to be on a train home.  We knew that it might happen, but it didn’t look that bad outside. We just didn’t think they were going to stop service,” said Ginny Blanford, of Hartsdale.

The last train left Grand Central at 10:22 p.m. Friday to New Haven, Conn.

There will be no outbound service until sometime Saturday, but it is still unclear when exactly that will be.

METRO-NORTH

Metro-North Railroad suspended service beginning at 10 p.m. to reduce the likelihood of stranding trains and to begin snow clearing operations.

The move was made because of the “accelerating severity of the current storm as well as projections of heavy snowfall accumulations,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

For more information on Metro-North service, click here.

MTA

As of midnight, the 7 subway line was to operate between Main Street and Queensboro Plaza, with shuttle service between Queensboro Plaza and Vernon-Jackson avenues. There was to be no 7 service to Manhattan as of midnight.

The 42nd Street S shuttle was to operate overnight.

Some additional service may be suspended if the weather demands it, officials said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is also deploying jet engine-powered snow blowers and snow throwers as well as de-icing cars to keep switches and third rails clear of snow and ice on the subway system.

For more information on MTA service, click here.

LIRR

The Long Island Rail Road said if there if more than 10 inches of snow, service would be suspended.

Because of snow accumulation and visibility issues, Cuomo said LIRR service on the Montauk Branch east of Speonk was suspended for safety reasons.

Crews will be out in force to clear tracks and the third rail, which is used to power electric trains.

Earlier, the LIRR showed off a tool it’s using to keep the tracks clear: A rail-bound snow blower, powered by a jet engine.

The LIRR has seven of them. Three of them are brand new this year. The LIRR is also deploying hi-rail jet snow blowers, which can be taken on roads to wherever they’re needed on the rails.

They also broke out four “giant two-way snow brooms” and three cold-air snow blowers. The LIRR said they started using “alcohol trains” Thursday night to spread anti-freeze along the tracks.

“The power out of these little jets is amazing,” Tom Najdzion, a supervisor with the LIRR told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera. “The space shuttle on the tracks. This is a jet engine. “

Customers can also sign up for email or text alert messages from the LIRR by clicking here.

For more information on LIRR service, click here.

PATH

PATH trains have been experiencing signal problems throughout Friday evening, resulting in delays in excess of 15 minutes.  However, PATH said it was not planning on suspending service.

For more information on PATH, click here: (Website Twitter)

NJ TRANSIT

NJ TRANSIT is cross-honoring tickets systemwide Friday and Saturday.

NJ TRANSIT bus service in northern and central New Jersey (all routes north of I-195) was suspended as of 8 p.m. This includes all routes that serve Port Authority Bus Terminal and George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal, all routes that operate via U.S. Route 9, and all northern local bus routes. This service suspension will remain in effect until further notice.

Bus service will continue to operate in Cape May, Atlantic, Camden, Salem, Gloucester, Burlington, Mercer and Cumberland counties unless weather conditions change.

NJ TRANSIT’s Morris & Essex Lines (including Gladstone Branch), Montclair-Boonton Line and all Midtown Direct services were suspended at 8 p.m. due to the weather.

The suspension will continue through Saturday. It takes at least 12 hours to restore rail service once it has been suspended, NJ TRANSIT said.

Access Link paratransit service was cancelled Friday afternoon and will be cancelled all day Saturday in Region 4 (Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, and north Ocean counties), Region 5 (Essex, Union, Somerset and Morris counties) and Region 6 (Bergen, Hudson, Passaic and parts of Essex counties).

Full service will continue to operate in Region 2 (Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties) and Region 3 (Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and south Ocean counties) unless conditions warrant otherwise.

All NJ TRANSIT-owned and operated rail station waiting rooms will remain open extended hours, including evenings and overnight, throughout the storm.

For more information on NJ TRANSIT service, click here.

AMTRAK

Amtrak suspended northbound service out of Penn Station after 1 p.m. Southbound service out of Boston was suspended after 2 p.m.

“The high winds are problematic because they can blow trees into the wires and then across the tracks and pull those wires down,” Amtrak spokesperson Steve Kulm told 1010 WINS. “We have crews and equipment strategically located up and down the corridor so that when the storm passes our crews will be out there as quickly as possible to get the railroad back and operating.”

Acela Express service between NYC and Boston has been cancelled for Saturday.

Southbound Northeast Regional service out of Boston South Station will operate a limited schedule starting with the 11:40 a.m. departure of train # 163 Saturday.

Northbound Northeast Regional service out of New York Penn Station will operate a limited schedule starting with the 10:00 a.m. departure of train # 162 Saturday.

Most Springfield Shuttle service (New Haven, Conn. – Springfield, Mass.) is cancelled.

Empire Service will operate on a reduced schedule between Albany, N.Y. & New York Penn Station.

For more information on AMTRAK service, click here.