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Freezing switches suspend some LIRR service

An LIRR train rolls through Port Washington. (December

An LIRR train rolls through Port Washington. (December 26, 2010) Credit: Craig Ruttle

The Long Island Rail Road suspended all service Sunday night after snow accumulation reached more than 10 inches and high winds blew snow drifts on the tracks.

LIRR spokesman Joe Calderone said 11 trains did not reach their destination at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday and were stranded at stations across Long Island. Calderone said 10 of those trains were moving "slowly" back to their origination and making all local stops.

"If it started from Ronkonkoma and is in Bethpage, they are moving back to Ronkonkoma," Calderone said.

Passengers on a train stuck at Hillside support facility will be taken by bus to Jamaica station.

There were also an unspecified number of people waiting at Penn Station. "We're working up a contingency plan right now," Calderone said.

"What we don't want is a train stuck between stations," he said. The railroad will continue to operate equipment trains through the night in an effort to clear the tracks.

The railroad plans for trains to run on a holiday schedule Monday.

Many of the regular trains have been outfitted with scraper shoes that scrape ice off the third rail, and the railroad has dispatched several pieces of heavy-duty snow-clearing equipment, including jet-powered snowblowers, hot-air jets, and "snow brooms" that operate on the rails, Zambuto said.

About 400 LIRR employees are working on keeping the tracks clear and the trains running, Calderone said earlier in the evening. Officials had said that some branches would be closed if accumulations reached 10 to 13 inches.

The railroad recommends that commuters monitor its website at mta.info for travel updates.

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