The Long Island Rail Road "definitely had a challenging a.m. rush hour," a spokesman said Friday.

Of the LIRR's 145 morning rush trains, 102 were late and 11 were canceled, said spokesman Joe Calderone. Much of the system was operating with an average of 20-minute delays.

The LIRR added eight eastbound trains from Penn Station Friday between 2:09 p.m. and 3:48 p.m. for customers leaving work early. Several afternoon and evening trains were canceled, though.

The extra service included three trains on the Port Jefferson branch, three on the Babylon branch, one on the Port Washington branch to Great Neck and one on the Far Rockaway branch.

The snow kept many regular commuters home. Calderone said morning rush trains carried 35 percent fewer riders than usual.

The agency does not anticipate having to suspend service.

In fact, the harsh winter weather prompted the LIRR to restore weekend service on the Long Beach branch, which was scheduled to be shut down for bridge rehabilitation work.

Friday morning, trains averaged delays of 15 to 20 minutes because of various switch and signal issues related to snow and wind, spokesman Mike Charles said.

Charles said the LIRR sent out special trains equipped with snowblowing equipment after the morning rush to clear the tracks and the third rail, which powers most of the line's electric trains.

Switch heaters were also kept on at most track locations, he said.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Here are the eight added trains for Friday afternoon:

On the Port Jefferson branch to Hicksville and Huntington, a 2:09 p.m. will stop at Jamaica, Carle Place, then make all stops to Huntington.

A 2:26 p.m. train will stop at Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica and New Hyde Park, then make all stops to Huntington.

A 3:24 p.m. train will stop at Jamaica, Mineola, Westbury and Hicksville.

On the Babylon branch, a 2:22 p.m. will run as an express to Lynbrook, then make all stops to Babylon.

Storm Center

A 3 p.m. train will stop at Jamaica and Rockville Centre, then make all stops to Babylon.

A 3:31 p.m. will run as an express to Rockville Centre, then make all stops to Babylon.

On the Port Washington branch to Great Neck, a 3:40 p.m. will stop at Woodside and Flushing-Main St., then make all stops to Great Neck.

On the Far Rockaway branch, a 3:48 p.m. will run as an express to Locust Manor, Laurelton, Rosedale and Valley Stream, then make all stops to Far Rockaway.