LIRR operating on weekend schedule

An LIRR rider boards a train in Huntington.

An LIRR rider boards a train in Huntington. (Feb. 2, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday / Arnold Miller

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The Long Island Rail Road is advising customers to brace themselves for a tough commute Wednesday morning, if a winter storm causes severe icing throughout the rail system.

The MTA released a statement at early Wednesday saying the LIRR would operate on a weekend schedule due to "wintry, icy conditions." Extra trains, however, will be added east of Ronkonkoma and on the West Hempstead branch. Peak fares will remain in effect.

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Also, due to the weekend schedule, there is no train service to Hunterspoint and Long Island City. NYC Transit will honor LIRR tickets on the Number 7 line at Woodside, the MTA said in a statement.

The MTA also urged customers to "exercise caution when entering and exiting the train."

To get ahead of the potential ice storm, LIRR spokesman Joe Calderone said the LIRR has fitted its trains with a "record amount" of ice scraper shoes - 110 of them. The abrasive steel shoes scrape ice from the third rail as trains travel the system.

 The railroad has activated its highest weather alert level and called in "hundreds" of extra employees, Calderone said.

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"The goal is to run as much service as possible," Calderone said.

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